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⏪ Classic Encounter: Hartlepool United 2 City 3 (2010/11)

Jed Penberthy looks back on a classic at Victoria Park

22 September 2021

Exeter City travel to Hartlepool for the first league encounter in four years on Saturday so we have delved into the past to find a Victoria Park classic encounter.

Jed Penberthy looks back at a thrilling match from 2010 where City came from behind to bring all three points back from County Durham.

Hartlepool United 2 Exeter City 3
Npower League One
Victoria Park | September  11, 2010

Exeter were yet to really kick off their 2010/11 season having picked up just five points from a possible 15 and went into the game in 14th Hartlepool themselves were just as worried occupying 17th.

Paul Tisdale named an unchanged side to the one which picked up the first win of the season the week prior, a 1-0 triumph over Charlton Athletic.  

It was the Grecians who got off to the perfect start. Ryan Harley, who scored the 93rd minute penalty to see off The Addicks, broke through the heart of the Pools defence. In his ever-graceful fashion rounded Scott Flinders and fired the ball into the home side’s net.

With the momentum swinging in City’s favour, the Grecians marauded forward again. John O’Flynn flicked a throw-in inside to Dan Nardiello to drive towards the Hartlepool box. The Number 10’s left-footed effort had Flinders stretching, but Flinders fingertipping round the post.

Undeterred by the visitor’s fast start, the boys in blue carved their first real effort of the afternoon. Joe Gamble’s dicey ball in was only half-cleared by the City defence. Ritchie Humphries took aim and forced a fine stop out of Paul Jones.

The Pools then earned their equaliser on 38 minutes- though in comical fashion. Richard Duffy spooned his clearence up and across his own box. Troy Archibald-Henville completely misjudged the bounce and that allowed Humphries to squeeze through and poke Hartlepool back on level terms.

Things got from bad to worse for Exeter moments before the break. Gamble again providing the danger-ball from the left-hand side. Jones was more than a match for Colin Larkin’s header, but Anthony Sweeney was on hand to turn the game on its head. 

With Tisdale’s ears still ringing in the Exeter ears, the Grecians came out fighting. Ryan Harley delicately brought down an awkward ball and fed John O’Flynn. The Irishman made no mistake in netting his second goal for the club to even the scores again.

With their tails up the reds battled on. Scott Golbourne and that man again Harley combined well down the wing and the latters low ball into the box was diverted over by Nardiello. 

But City didn’t have to wait long before the comeback was completed. Jones launched a ball forward into the Hartlepool half. After a moment of pinball, Exeter were able to work the ball wide to Golbourne. His cross was on a plate for O’Flynn, who thumped his header back across the face of goal. 3-2 Exeter.

Searching for their second equaliser of the day, the home side pushed forward. Andy Monkouse came agonisingly close restoring parity volleying narrowly wide almost straight away.

With just seconds left Hartlepool almost found their reward. Neil Austin delivered a teasing ball into the middle and substitute Denis Beham hit the inside of the post. City cleared and took the points.

The win moved Exeter up to 12th and was the second in five game unbeaten run. City would go on ot record their best ever Football League finish in eighth place, picking up the scalps of Bournemouth, Sheffield Wednesday and Plymouth Argyle on the way.

Hartlepool United: Flinders, Collins, Liddle, Horwood, Austin, Humphreys, Murray, Sweeney, Yantorno, Monkhouse, Larkin

Exeter City: P. Jones, Golbourne, Duffy, Archibald-Henville, B. Jones, Tully, Harley, Dunne. Sercombe, Nardiello, O’Flynn

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Attendance: 2,641


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