Oxford United 1-0 Hartlepool United

David Connolly

Oxford United beat fellow promotion-hopefuls Hartlepool to strengthen their grip on a League Two play-off place.

Jack Barmby had chances at both the start and end of the first half for Hartlepool, but saw his first effort go wide before Ryan Clarke saved well.

Simon Walton was sent off for his second yellow card and the hosts took advantage within two minutes.

David Connolly's header from David Hunt's free-kick helped the U's close the gap on third place to six points.

Sixth-placed Oxford are now six points clear of eighth-placed Southend, who were held to a goalless draw by struggling Bristol Rovers.

Oxford's victory could be Mickey Lewis's last match as caretaker manager, with chairman Ian Lenagan announcing before kick-off that a new manager should be appointed over the weekend.