HARTLEPOOL UNITED coasted to a 2-0 victory over Aldershot at Victoria Park. They now again sit three points short of the play-off zone.

Two first half goals proved enough to see off poor opposition, who never recovered from conceding on six minutes.

Luke Molyneux, on his first start of the season after injury, put his side ahead.

Some tidy play on the left side saw loan striker Rob Harker – one of three changes to the side from the previous week’s defeat at Barnet – cross for the midfielder to latch onto and tap in/

Pools doubled their lead, and in effect finished the game off, on 20 minutes.

This time Molyneux’s corner landed in the penalty area for Mark Shelton to head home his third goal for the club since moving on loan from Salford.

The Shots lost Mo Bettamer as half-time approached, the striker going down under no pressure and it was over five minutes before he was comically stretchered to the dressing rooms. By then he had hopped halfway there.

In a tepid second half, the visitors looked set to get one back on 77 minutes.

From a corner, Dean Rance looked a sure scorer but right-back Macauley Southam-Hailes somehow headed the effort over the bar.

Shelton went close to a second as he linked up on the right to drive a 20-yard shot wide.

Some terrible defending from the visitors gave Gus Mafuta an easy opening, but he blasted high over.

HARTLEPOOL UNITED (4-1-4-1): Killip; Southam-Hailes, Odusina, Liddle, Kitching; Featherstone, Shelton (Hawkes 90), Donaldson, Toure, Molyneux (Mafuta 67), Harker (Keena 82).

Subs (not used): Anderson, Richardson.

Attendance: 3442