Humphreys hits spot in shoot-out to end Hartlepool's jinx

Tranmere 2 - Hartlepool 0 aet; 2-2 agg; Hartlepool win 6-5 on penalties
Click to follow
The Independent Football

The veteran striker Ritchie Humphreys struck the winning penalty for Hartlepool to sink Tranmere at Prenton Park last night and book a League One play-off final date at the Millennium Stadium against his former club Sheffield Wednesday.

The veteran striker Ritchie Humphreys struck the winning penalty for Hartlepool to sink Tranmere at Prenton Park last night and book a League One play-off final date at the Millennium Stadium against his former club Sheffield Wednesday.

Managerless Hartlepool finally ended their jinx ­ they had lost all of their four previous play-off semi-finals ­ after squandering a two-goal lead from the first leg.

Second-half goals on the night from Ryan Taylor and substitute David Beresford had sent the game into extra time as Rovers deservedly levelled the tie. But caretaker-manager Martin Scott's side held their nerve better in a tense shoot-out.

Taylor saw his first penalty saved, but after Gavin Strachan had buried his for Pools Mark Tinkler's effort was saved by Rovers' goalkeeper John Achterberg.

The Rovers defender Ian Sharps then had the agony of seeing his spot-kick smothered before Humphreys buried his to send Hartlepool through.

Despite losing Jason McAteer through injury in the first half after he suffered an early knock Tranmere largely dominated.

Their pressure finally paid off after 70 minutes when Taylor curled a free-kick just inside the post.

The visiting keeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos continued to thwart the home side until Rovers scored a second goal after 86 minutes, Beresford cutting in on the edge of the area and driving into the far corner.

Tranmere Rovers: Achterberg; Taylor, Jackson, Sharps, Goodison (Beresford, 55), Hall, Rankine, McAteer (Harrison, 20), Roberts, Hume, Dadi (Dagnall, 119). Substitutes not used: Whitmore, Linwood.

Hartlepool United: Konstantopoulos; Barron (Tinkler, 66), Nelson, Westwood, Robson, Williams, Humphreys, Strachan, Sweeney, Boyd (Butler, 85), Daly (Porter, 72). Substitutes not used: Provett, Clark.

Referee: M Atkinson (West Yorkshire).

Comments