Crawley have faced this afternoon’s opponents on seven occasions since 2012. Hope Akpan scored the only goal of the game at Victoria Park to secure Crawley all three points in Sky Bet League One. Since then, Crawley have gone on to record a further two victories against the Monkey Hangers. Three ties have ended as a draw, while Hartlepool have only managed to secure one victory over the Reds.
That victory came on the opening day of the 2021/22 season at Victoria Park. New signings Owen Gallacher and Jack Payne started for John Yems’ Reds in a 4-5-1 formation. After just 32 minutes, Jordan Tunnicliffe was forced off with an injury that kept him out until the 22nd of January. Things didn’t get much better for Yems’ side. Gavan Holohan scored the decisive goal in the 88th minute to send Crawley back to Sussex empty-handed.
Before the opening day of the season, the Reds hadn’t faced the Pools since January 2017. Crawley came out on top courtesy of a James Collins goal in the 63rd minute. Glenn Morris is the only player from this game that remains at the club. The late Dermot Drummy was in the dugout for Crawley at The People’s Pension Stadium.
The Pools’ season started brightly, and the newly-promoted side found themselves in and around the play-offs. However, on the first of November 2021, it was that former manager David Challinor was to leave his role to pursue an opportunity at Stockport County. Hartlepool appointed former defender Graeme Lee in December 2021. Lee made over 200 appearances for the Pools during his playing career, which also included spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford City.
After their positive start to the season, Hartlepool have since dropped off and currently lie 15th in the table, six points behind the Reds. The Durham based side have only recorded one win on the road this season, beating Bradford City in October.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Omar Bogle - Striker
Prolific goalscorer Omar Bogle joined the Pools in the January transfer window from Doncaster Rovers. A former youth team player with West Brom, Birmingham, and Celtic, Bogle made his senior debut for Hinckley United before moving to Solihull Moors and then Grimsby Town, where he collected various awards including player of the year and golden boot before ultimately going on to achieve promotion to league football by scoring twice in the 2016 National League Play-Off Final. Bogle got off to a dream start with Hartlepool, scoring on his home debut against Barrow on Tuesday night.
Luke Molyneux - Striker
Luke Molyneux is one of Hartlepool’s most dangerous players. The 23-year-old scored a brace in Hartlepool’s 3-1 victory over Barrow on Tuesday night. Molyneux also signed for Hartlepool in 2019, having been released from Sunderland youth ranks. The attacking forward leads the goalscoring charts at Victoria Park, netting eight goals in all competitions for the Pools. The former Black Cat has only missed one league game this season and is likely to start against the Reds this afternoon.
Ben Killip - Goalkeeper
Ben Killip is likely to be the goalkeeper of choice this afternoon. The 26-year-old had made 26 Sky Bet League Two appearances for the Pools this season. The former Chelsea youth product joined Hartlepool in 2019 from Braintree Town after several spells in the lower leagues, including a stint at Blundell Park with Grimsby Town. The goalkeeper has kept an impressive 11 clean sheets this season in all competitions, securing his role as the number one goalkeeper at Victoria Park.
Heading into tomorrow’s game, Hartlepool have the worst away record in the league so far this season, only picking up six points from fourteen league games. Crawley have the third best away record in League Two, recording 24 points on the road.
However, Hartlepool are clear of the relegation zone after collecting 28 points at home, including three against Crawley in August. The Pools have made Victoria Park a fortress in League Two.
Hartlepool have had a mixed bag of results as of late, but come into tomorrow’s game on the back of a positive 3-1 home win over Barrow. A Luke Molyneux brace and a goal for exciting new signing Omar Bogle was enough to sink the Bluebirds, who took the lead early in the game.
The Pools also recently played Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in FA Cup action, losing out just 2-0 against the Premier League side in a courageous performance which was watched by over 5000 travelling Hartlepool fans.
John Yems’ Crawley also head into Saturday following a 1-3 victory, as they defeated Harrogate at the EnviroVent Stadium on Tuesday night. Aramide Oteh was the man who put us in front early in the second half with a remarkable solo effort, before Brahima Diarra equalised on the hour mark.
Tom Nichols crafted a tap-in for Nick Tsaroulla who sprinted forward to meet the cross, giving us another lead on 79 minutes, and Nichols then did it himself with a long-range curler to put the game to bed.
HOW THEY BET*
Crawley Town 13/10
Hartlepool United 2/1
*Odds of betting partners SkyBet at time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.