Hartlepool kicked off attacking the Town End in front of what appeared to be a relatively low crowd - the early kick-off possibly having an effect. Smith's cross from the left caused problems for the Exeter defence as early as the second minute and it was put behind for a corner. The kick came to nothing, but it was all Pools in the early stages and in the fifth minute a goalmouth scramble saw the ball taken off Gordon Watson's toe as he lined up his shot.
In the tenth minute Power whipped in a cross from the left which McCarthy got his head to, but with no direction and it drifted out of play. Darrell Clarke was next in the action with a powerful shot on target which Van Heusden dealt with. On the quarter hour Roscoe curled a free-kick round the wall from about 25 yards but Williams gathered comfortably. In the 22nd minute Widdrington's pass found Clarke who set up Watson in the box but his shot was blocked away. Three minutes later Roberts found himself clean though on Williams blocked with his body. The ball was swung back in and Cronin's header beat Williams but Clarke cleared off the line. On the half hour Smith whipped in as low cross to the near post, Clarke got a touch but the ball flashed across the face of the goal. Roberts put in a good cross to the far post but McCarthy's header was too weak to worry Williams.
Pools took the lead in the 37th minute when Clarke's superb cross to the far post found Gordon WATSON who scored with a superb side-footed volley from 16 yards. Graeme Power was booked in the 42nd minute for bringing down Humphreys as he cleared the ball from his own half. Andy Roscoe followed him into referee Roger Furnandiz's book two minutes later for pulling back Watson.
Half-time : Hartlepool 1 Exeter City 0
In the 48th minute, Mickey Barron almost got his name on the scoresheet for the second time in a week but his shot from 12 yards was just scrambled round the post by Van Heusden. From the resultant corner the ball was cleared to Smith on the edge of the box but his curling shot was just wide.
Geoff Breslan replaced Andy Roscoe in the 57th minute. Seconds later McCarthy was booked for deliberated handball as he tried to punch the ball into the net. Adam Boyd replaced Gordon Watson in the 62nd minute after the striker had picked up an injury. Seconds later Buckle had a header blocked by Robinson, the ball came to McCarthy who headed over the bar from just 6 yards out in the centre of the goal.
A misunderstanding between Westwood and Simms almost let in Roberts, he broke clear but Williams saved his low shot diving to his right. Mark Tinkler replaced Mark Robinson in the 71st minute and Mickey Barron dropped back to the back four with Westwood moving across to left back. Gary Birch came on for Paul Buckle in the 79th minute as the game became a dour midfield battle.
Tony Lormor replaced Ritchie Humphreys in 83rd minute and the former Sheffield Wednesday man left the field to a great ovation from the home fans. Seconds later Graeme Tomlinson replaced McCarthy. A quick free kick set Clarke away and his low cross was met by Lormor but Alex Watson put it behind for a corner. The experienced goalscorer didn't have long to wait to get his name on the score sheet. Adam Boyd beat several men on the edge of the box, drew the keeper and rolled the ball into the path of LORMOR who had the simplest of tasks to sidefoot home from 6 yards.
A good solid performance from Pools, not as impressive as the 4-0 win over Hull but the three points takes Pools further away from the drop-zone.(Match Report Courtesy Of Hartlepool United)