City reserves 1, Hartlepool reserves 2

Two of City’s injured midfield brigade stepped up their recoveries with a half each in today’s reserve defeat.

Lee Bullock enjoyed his first taste of action for nearly three months against his former club following the knee ligament injury he picked up at Shrewsbury.

And on-loan Dean Furman – out since the start of November with a pulled hamstring – came on for him in the second half.

City beat the weather when the pitch passed an early morning inspection after overnight frost had disappeared.

But they couldn’t beat their visitors who came from behind to claim the spoils.

Hartlepool started better but Sean Taylforth’s fine pass to Rory Boulding almost put him in but Pools’ keeper Mark Cook intervened.

After 15 minutes, Simon Ainge put the ball over the top for Leon Osborne but Tom Marron was on hand to block.

Two minutes later, Ryan Harrison battled well to feed Taylforth but his shot from outside the box went wide.

Jon McLaughlin was the busier of the two keepers, denying efforts from Joe Tait and Jack Sharples.

Louis Horne almost broke the deadlock with a 25-yard shot and Osborne went close two minutes later when, with just the keeper to beat, his lob sailed over the bar.

With half-time approaching, a good run by Luke Sharry to the edge of the area saw him cross to Kelvin Bleau but it just ran out of play.

City took the lead in the 56th minute when Boulding’s shot from outside the area was parried by Cook and Osborne was on hand to follow up and score.

The Bantams weren’t in front for long when, just two minutes later, Marc Ellison blasted the ball into the top corner of the net, giving McLaughlin no chance.

End to end play followed but Pools scored the winner in the 66th minute when the ball fell kindly to Matty Tymon from a deflection and his shot sailed beyond McLaughlin.

The game finished dramatically for Bleau when he had to be stretchered off in time added on.

Thankfully, the injury turned out to be nothing more severe than cramp.

City reserves: McLaughlin, Bleau (Bellamy), Horne, Sharry, Ainge, Bower, Osborne, Bullock (Furman), R Boulding, Taylforth, Harrison (Carson).