Exeter ease to victory in dire clash at Hartlepool
Exeter eased to a 2-0 win at Hartlepool in a tedious game.
The Grecians, on a horrible north-east day, won a game of few openings.
Alex Nicholls scored the opener after 36 minutes when Joel Grant collected the ball on the edge of his own area and was allowed to turn and run clear. He fed Lee Holmes whose cross from the left was met by Nicholls and his flicked header beat goalkeeper Trevor Carson.
It was the only attack of any note from the visitors, and it was only in the second half that the struggling home side managed to press.
Substitute Nathan Thomas was their liveliest performer. He should have scored after 52 minutes, pushing a low shot wide after a positive surge into the penalty area.
A low cross bounced up in front of Christian Riberio but the defender chested the ball into the grateful arms of goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik.
Jake Carroll fired low into Olejnik - a rare shot on goal - before Exeter's second arrived.
A swift counter-attack in the 87th minute saw Jayden Stockley cross and Grant swept in from close range off the underside of the crossbar.