Hartlepool United 0-2 Woking: Pools suffer first defeat at the Suit Direct Stadium after quickfire Ricky Korboa double

Hartlepool United lost for the first time in the National League at the Suit Direct Stadium against Woking. (Photo: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Hartlepool United lost for the first time in the National League at the Suit Direct Stadium against Woking. (Photo: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

John Askey’s side hit the post twice in the first half before Korboa scored within three minutes of the second half when his scrambled effort deflected in to beat Pete Jameson.

It was deja vu for Hartlepool who conceded three in quick succession at Oxford City a week ago as Korboa then struck again three minutes later from the edge of the area.

It was a lead Pools were unable to claw back as they were both shut out and fell to their first defeat on home soil since April.

We’re less than two months into the new National League season and already Hartlepool and boss Askey have been dealt with a number of major blows.

Following their gut-wrenching late defeat at Chesterfield Pools were hit with the significant news of both Dan Dodds and Anthony Mancini’s season-ending injuries.

Pools were able to bounce back from both that defeat and that news with a much-welcomed win over Wealdstone before suffering a major setback against Oxford last time out where a second half capitulation saw Askey’s side throw away their lead in a 5-2 defeat.

The lead they held in that game came courtesy of a wonderful strike from Callum Cooke who became the latest injury blow for Pools ahead of kick-off against Woking.

Callum Cooke was a notable absentee in Hartlepool United's squad against Woking. Picture by FRANK REID
Callum Cooke was a notable absentee in Hartlepool United's squad against Woking. Picture by FRANK REID

The midfielder has been a mainstay in Askey’s side but was not involved at all with the club confirming the 26-year-old was absent with an ankle injury – the early suggestions he could be another key player for Hartlepool set for a prolonged period on the sideline.

In his place came Oliver Finney for his first start of the season while defender Alex Lacey was recalled to the defence in place of Brody Paterson to allow captain David Ferguson to move back out to the left of defence.

The injuries to Mancini and now Cooke led Askey to bringing in a new addition in midfield in former Manchester City and Derby County youngster Osazee Aghatise who was named on the bench.

But the disruption might have impacted Pools with Woking enjoying plenty of the early possession in what was a subdued opening 45 minutes until Askey’s side were twice denied by the woodwork.

Luke Wilkinson tried to catch out Jameson with a quick free kick from distance but the Harrogate Town loanee was alert before Wilkinson had two further attempts from free kicks in a similar area in the opening quarter of an hour.

The first saw Wilkinson’s cross cleared back to him before the Cardinals defender sent an effort well off target before then seeing his third attempt deflect narrowly wide of Jameson’s post.

Josh Casey worked a short corner before his cross drifted over the bar as Pools struggled to really get out of their own half with the away side pressing high before former striker Padraig Amond glanced a header just wide from goalkeeper Will Jaaskelainen’s direct free kick.

Askey was dealt another injury blow midway through the first half when the returning Lacey was forced off with a head injury after colliding with team-mate Kieran Wallace which saw Paterson come on in his place.

It was all just a little too flat from the home side until the half hour mark when they finally tested Jaaskelainen with their best move of the game up to that point.

Ferguson found Joe Grey on halfway who took out two Woking players with a clever first time flick into Tom Crawford and the midfielder spread to the right for Charlie Seaman who was able to cut inside onto his left and fire low into Jaaskelainen’s arms.

It was a move which seemed to wake Pools up as Finney began to find space on the left and sent in a couple of teasing crosses before the former Crewe Alexandra man picked a perfect defence splitting pass for Emmanuel Dieseruvwe, who broke clear of left-back Casey, to advance in on goal and beat Jaaskelainen, only to be denied by the foot of the post.

But the chance wasn’t over for Hartlepool as Grey was able to pick up the rebound inside the six-yard box ahead of two Woking defenders but, off balance, he steered his effort over the bar – the despair etched on his face afterwards suggesting he knows he should have done better.

Pools went close again when Seaman picked up a clearance from Ferguson’s free kick and beat his man on the right before Scott Cuthbert turned narrowly wide of his near post.

The woodwork then came to Woking’s rescue for a second time when Ferguson, this time on the right, curled in an excellent free kick which evaded everyone in the area and bounced through to clip the outside of the post.

Grey then headed over from Paterson’s cross as the half-time whistle, arguably, came at the wrong time for Askey’s side.

But if the message was to carry on as they had been in the closing stages of the first half it certainly wasn’t heeded as just like a week ago at Oxford they were hit by a quickfire double.

Paterson was outmuscled to lose possession inside his own half as a cross from Jim Kellermann was sent over towards the back post for Amond who headed into the path of Korboa and despite having both Luke Hendrie and Emmanuel Onariase to contend with he was able to get a strike at goal which deflected off Hendrie to wrong-foot Jameson and trickle over the line.

Pools had half a chance to respond immediately when Ferguson’s corner landed kindly for Dieseruvwe but his effort cannoned off Grey which fell nicely for Jaaskelainen to smother.

But Askey’s side remained vulnerable as they then found themselves with a mountain to climb as, three minutes after going behind, Woking doubled their lead.

Pools were unable to clear as Amond flicked a ball back into the path of Korboa on the right of the area and he was able to drift inside beyond Wallace and Onariase before a strike at goal which appeared to lack the power to trouble Jameson found the corner, with Jameson perhaps slipping as he awkwardly scrambled to clear.

It was a killer blow for the Suit Direct Stadium crowd as Seaman then blasted over from the edge of the area as Pools searched for a response.

The home side needed a spark and almost found one through what would have been some good fortune as Seaman sent a long ball into the channel for Josh Umerah to chase and his cross almost dropped in at the back post.

Seaman became more involved as he picked up a ball from Crawford on the edge of the area to test Jaaskelainen.

Crawford exchanged well with Umerah before curling off target as Hartlepool did show some signs of resurgence – albeit without really testing Jaaskelainen enough.

Crawford then wasted a good opportunity meeting Finney’s cross at the back post, but the midfielder headed back across goal for his team-mate Dieseruvwe rather than going for goal as the chance came and went along with Hartlepool’s perfect home record.

Hartlepool United XI: Jameson, Seaman, Hendrie, Onariase, Lacey (Paterson ‘20), Ferguson ©, Wallace, Crawford, Finney (Aghatise ‘89), Grey (Umerah ‘57), Dieseruvwe

Subs: Dixon, Wreh

Woking XI: Jaaskelainen, Moss, Casey ©, Cuthbert, Wilkinson, Korboa (Taylor ‘80), Amond, Akinola, Kellerman (Robinson ‘89), Bradshaw, Anderson (Willmott ‘69)

Subs: Andre Jr, Odusina

Referee: Michael Barlow

Attendance: 4,214 (112 Woking)