Date: 21st September 2008 at 11:03am
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Latics and Hartlepool battled it out yesterday to give punters one of the best games of football you’re likely to see in a while (or until Latics’ next game!). Both sides threw caution to the wind and with the scorelines level after 90 minutes, it was the beautiful game that won out.

The game saw both sides name unchanged sides, which meant the partnership of Hughes and Alessandra remained. Latics always struggle at Hartlepool, yet the first half saw Shez’s men 2-0 to the good and controlling proceedings.

The first goal came from Lee Hughes; who continues to show that would circumstances have been different, he would be playing at a higher level. Hughesy scored a header from 6 yards out, after a great ball in from Danny Whitaker.

Latics’ 2nd came from the ever improving Chris Taylor, just a moment before the break. The ginger winger was quickest to a loose ball following Lee-Barret’s save from Andy Liddell.

At half time Latics were 2 goals to the good and although Hartlepool played some decent football, we were in charge. However it was all about to change as the Hartlepool players responded to what must have been the greatest team talk ever by Danny Wilson.

Within 7 minutes of the restart, Hartlepool hit 3 past Mark Crossley, as Latics turned from title contenders to relegation fodder. The first came just 2 minutes in from Monkhouse, who got in front of his marker to convert.

Hartlepool’s 2nd came through Sweeney, who was first to the rebound after Norm saved from Porter. 2-2 and fuming!

On 52 minutes Hartlepool were 3-2 up. James Brown was pulled back in the box and the impressive Porter cooly slotted home the penalty.

However in what seems to be becoming the normality this season, Latics pulled it back. Chris Taylor hit a speculative effort from 12 yards out, but the ball took a huge deflection and left Lee-Barret stranded in the Hartlepool goal. 3-3 and from then on the game could of gone either way, with both sides creating chances.

Latics were denied by Lee-Barret, in particular Chris Taylor who’s hat-trick just wouldn’t come, but were dealt a sorry blow when captain Sean Gregan was shown red for a cynical foul.

Shez therefore introduced Richie Byrne to try and grind out a point for Latics. The former Aberdeen mans debut couldn’t of come at a harder time but Byrne showed character, as did all of the Latics squad.

The game finished 3-3 but Latics are left to lick their wounds as they will be without the inspirational Sean Gregan for 3 matches. It’s time for either Richie Byrne or the loveable, yet mistake prone Stefan Stam to step up and show the fans why we’ll be in the top 6 come the end of the season.