Poor Pools slump to the bottom

Hartlepool slipped to the bottom of the table after a flat and

uninspiring goalless home draw with Walsall.

Pools have now gone six games without a goal, while Walsall

missed the spark of top scorer Will Grigg and remain three points

off the play-offs.

On a bleak North-East day, the windy conditions never made for

an appealing game and so it proved.

The wind almost gifted the Saddlers an eighth-minute goal when

Andy Taylor’s corner held up in the gale and Pools goalkeeper Scott

Flinders got to his near post to push the ball away.

At the other end, Pools went close when Simon Walton drove wide

from 18 yards, before Neil Austin’s cross on the overlap saw

debutant Saddlers goalkeeper Sam Johnstone make a fine diving save

to keep out Antony Sweeney’s header.

Walsall had a late chance to win it when Walton gave away

possession to set up a swift counter-attack, but Jamie Paterson’s

shot was charged down by a pack of home defenders.