Shrewsbury Town 1 Hartlepool United 1

Last updated : 06 January 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Hartlepool United saw their nine-match winning streak come to an end at Gay Meadow and will be mightily relived to emerge from the game with their unbeaten run intact after a second half pounding from Shrewsbury Town.

James Brown fired Danny Wilson's high-fliers into a 35th minute lead and although Hartlepool held the lead until the 78th minute when Michael Symes deservedly shot Shrewsbury level, it was no more than the home side deserved as they dominated after the break and it took some fine goalkeeping from Dimitrios Konstantopoulos to deny Gary Peters' men all three points.

Despite a treacherous, heavily-sanded pitch, this developed into an absorbing contest, but it was easy to understand the post-match feeling of Shrewsbury boss Peters who admitted to being "desperately disappointed" not to have won the match as his side had the Hartlepool defence stretched to breaking point for long periods in the second half.

They had to survive a number of near things as Shrewsbury created several clear-cut opportunities and even after Symes had equalised, there was still time for the home side to spurn a host of chances to secure all three points.

With both sides wary of the difficult conditions, the match took time to warm up but once Hartlepool found their rhythm they began to take charge.

In the 24th minute a fine move resulted in Eifion Williams bringing a fine save from Shrews keeper Scott Shearer, but there was to be no such reprieve for the home side 11 minutes later as Hartlepool deservedly went ahead.

The Shrewsbury defence failed to clear a long throw from Richie Humphreys, with the ball eventually falling at the feet of Brown who drilled home a rising shot from 12 yards.

Three minutes before the break the home defence was opened up again, but on this occasion Brown curled his shot wide from the edge of the box.

But following the restart Hartlepool were forced onto the defensive, with Shearer becoming a virtual spectator for the rest of the afternoon.

Ben Davies delivered a succession of dangerous corners that the visiting defence did well to repel and behind them Shrewsbury found Konstantopoulos in top form and he rescued his side with several important saves - the pick of which was a fine tip over from a dipping Davies free-kick.

But eventually Shrewsbury found their reward and when a free-kick fell to Symes in the goalmouth he was on hand to sweep home his eighth league goal of the season - as Hartlepool conceded their first goal in eight league matches.

In the closing stages it took another excellent save from Konstantopoulos to thwart Edwards as Shrewsbury desperately searched for the winner.

And right at the death it almost arrived, as with the Hartlepool keeper beaten, Edwards saw his angled shot blocked on the line.