Match report: Huddersfield Town v Hartlepool United

Huddersfield Town missed a golden chance to jump into League One's automatic promotion places as an inspired performance from goalkeeper Jake Kean guided Hartlepool United to a 1-0 success at the Galpharm yesterday.

Leon McSweeney's first-half strike proved the decider but a goalkeeping masterclass from Kean was crucial in netting Pools all three points.

The defeat leaves Huddersfield in third place – a point behind

Sheffield Wednesday but with a game still in hand.

Pools are now just three points off third-placed Town with a game in hand.

Lee Clark's side were up against a well disciplined Hartlepool side that have moved up to 10th in League One having won four of their last five games.

And the Terriers found Pools keeper Jake Kean in inspired form as the on-loan Blackburn youngster produced a string of fine saves.

Gary Roberts was the first to test the impressive 19-year-old, who dived at his feet to deny him midway through the first half.

Kean also turned away shots from Peter Clarke and Anthony Pilkington before rushing out to prevent substitute Benik Afobe from scoring late on.

Hartlepool's winner came minutes before half-time when a cute backheel from Andy Monkhouse set Evan Horwood on his way and the full-back found Sweeney, who was free to fire past Terriers keeper Alex Smithies.

After being involved in the only League One game not to succumb to the wintry weather on Boxing Day, Huddersfield remain one point off the promotion places.

Town boss Lee Clark pulled no punches after the game and admitted the defeat was very hard to take.

"Well done to Mick Wadsworth and his players," he said.

"They have done a terrific job but this is a hard one to take for me.

"It's about winning games and we have given away a massive opportunity

to go into the top two.

"I expect my team to pick up points at home but all credit to Hartlepool."

Meanwhile, Pools boss Wadsworth believes he could have the next Joe Hart in his ranks in impressive shot-stopper Kean.

On-loan ace Kean's temporary stint ends on January 4 and Wadsworth said: "He can go all the way. He is a bit special.

"I worked with Joe Hart when he was 17 at Shrewsbury and I can see Blackburn have a hell of a player on their hands.

"It would be foolish to say he can be as good as Joe.

"But Joe is the best keeper I have worked with in my career.

"Jake has some great qualities and what happens next is up to him."

Huddersfield will be looking to bounce straight back from the Pools defeat with tomorrow's trip to Southampton who currently sit 11th in the table, four points behind the Terriers but with a game in hand.

Huddersfield: Smithies, Arfield, McCombe, Peter Clarke, Carey (Lee 90), Roberts, Gudjonsson (Novak 69), Kay, Pilkington, Rhodes, Garner (Afobe 54). Subs not used: Bennett, Nathan Clarke, Tom Clarke, Atkinson.

Hartlepool: Kean, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, McSweeney (Bjornsson 82), Liddle, Murray (Haslam 72), Sweeney, Monkhouse, Brown (Larkin 60). Subs not used: Rafferty, Humphreys, Gamble, Yantorno.

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield).

Attendance: 14,813.

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