Brighton & Hove Albion 4 Hartlepool United 1
By Tim Hodges at Withdean.
The Albion cruised past Hartlepool at the Withdean Stadium on yesterday afternoon.
Hartlepool’s only celebrity fan must have been left spellbound at the Albion’s superb football.
The Seagulls took an early lead through Chris Wood who fired them in front from the edge of the area after only 10 minutes.
As the Seagulls continued to pile on the pressure Ashley Barnes got free down the right and crossed to Glenn Murray who had a simple tap in for 2-0.
Albion continued to pressure Hartlepool in an effort to kill the game off before half time.
Murray, Barnes and Elliott Bennett all had good chances to put Albion out of sight before the break though the score remained 2-0 as the half-time whistle blew.
It was much the same as the game restarted, Gary Dicker and Bennett probing at the overworked and frankly sorry looking Pools defence.
From a Dicker free kick the ball squirmed to Adam El Abd in the six-yard box.
However, from almost on the goal line his shot went wide.
But the pieces were picked up by Bennett, who fed Barnes, who in turn played in Craig Noone, and he made in 3-0 from a tight angle.
It is a joy to see the Albion so much in command of matches.
When Dicker robbed Leon McSweeney in possession and played in Murray, who raced clear and slid the ball under Scott Flinders for four, the match was taking a wonderfully familiar turn.
McSweeney made amends by beating Casper Ankergren from close range for the Monkey Hangers’ consolation, but the Albion saw out the game keeping the ball flowing and occasionally looking for a fifth.
Albion: Ankergren; Calderon, Greer, El-Abd, Painter; Bridcutt, Dicker, Bennett; Wood. Murray, Barnes. Subs: Brezovan, Taricco, Elphick, Battipiedi, Holroyd, Sandaza, Noone.
Hartlepool: Flinders; Haslam, Collins, Hartley, Horwood; Sweeney, Gamble, Murray, Liddle, Monkhouse; Larkin. Subs: Humphreys, McSweeney, Boyd, Yantorno, Brown, Rafferty, Donaldson.
Ref: Gavin Ward (Surrey)
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