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Hartlepool 2-0 Stoke

Goalscorers Michael Nelson and David Foley celebrate Hartlepool's victory over Stoke
Goalscorers Michael Nelson and David Foley celebrate Pools' victory

Hartlepool United caused the first upset of the FA Cup third round with victory over Premier League side Stoke.

The League One side took the lead on 49 minutes when Matty Robson's free-kick found central defender Michael Nelson, who headed in from close range.

The hosts doubled their lead on 75 minutes when David Foley's superb 30-yard strike flew past Steve Simonsen.

Stoke's best chance fell to Ibrahima Sonko, who headed Glenn Whelan's cross against the post on two minutes.

The victory was Hartlepool's second of the season against Premier League opposition, having dumped West Brom out of the Carling Cup in August.

Without suspended duo Ricardo Fuller and Richard Creswell, while injuries accounted for Andy Griffin and Amdy Faye, Stoke manager Tony Pulis made seven changes to the side that last lost 2-1 to West Ham.

Hartlepool - 41 places below the Potters in the League - could not afford similar luxuries as caretaker boss Chris Turner recalled striker Michael Mackay, with midfielder Robson coming in for Andy Monkhouse.

And the visitors were denied an early lead when Sonko's powerful header shuddered off the woodwork inside the opening exchanges.

Injuries forced Turner into first-half changes as Anthony Sweeney and Michael Mackay limped off, with Jamie McCunnie and Foley taking their places.

But despite the double setback, the hosts held firm - although goalkeeper Arran Lee-Barrett was tested when he saved Michael Tonge's low right-foot shot on 31 minutes.

And Hartlepool took a deserved lead four minutes after the interval.

Andrew Davies conceded a free-kick when he brought down Robson on the right, a decision which incensed Pulis on the sidelines.

And his anger was further compounded when Robson's free-kick found the unmarked Nelson, who made no mistake from close range.

With Hartlepool firmly in the ascendency, the diminutive Foley doubled the lead in spectacular fashion with an unstoppable long-range strike into the top corner.

Rory Delap threatened as Stoke desperately pushed forward, but Hartlepool's commanding defence comfortably dealt with any danger.

Hartlepool: Lee-Barrett, Sweeney (McCunnie 17), Nelson, Collins, Humphreys, Jones (Monkhouse 90), Liddle, Clark, Robson, Mackay (Foley 33), Porter.
Subs Not Used: Budtz, Power, Rowell, Tait.

Goals: Nelson 49, Foley 76.

Stoke: Simonsen, Davies (Wilkinson 71), Shawcross, Sonko, Dickinson, Soares (Lawrence 54), Olofinjana (Kitson 54), Whelan, Tonge, Delap, Pericard.
Subs Not Used: Sorensen, Higginbotham, Diao, Abdoulaye Faye.

Att: 5,367.

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

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see also
FA Cup photos
03 Jan 09 |  FA Cup

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