WILSON SHOCKED BUT IT’S POOLS’ BIG DAY
SHEFF UTD ......2 HARTLEPOOL ..3 Hartlepool claim only second win of season
DANNY Wilson called it a “flick in the knackers” and there’s little doubt Hartlepool United caused some shock pain on Sheffield United.
Bottom of the table Pools turned the tables as they surprisingly won at the top of the table side.
And, on the day which was supposed to be all about celebrating 150 years of football at Bramall Lane, there was only the visitors enjoying the occasion.
It was only Pools’ second win of the season and the first time they have scored three goals in a game this season. Their previous win was 22 games ago.
“We were missing some key players in key areas and it has cost us,’’ said Wilson. “Neill Collins was a big miss at the back.
“There was a big void in the team with all due respect to those who came in.
“We have to go again at Doncaster on Tuesday. This was a flick in the knackers if you like and this was just that and sometimes you need that to kick you into action.
“Expectation levels are very high at this club and we don’t want that to drift away.
“Maybe the pitch wasn’t conducive to how we want to play the game, but we have to deal with it.
“We go to Doncaster, give it a good go and there’s no pressure on us.’’
Pools took a shock lead on five minutes when Howard powered in a close range header, climbing above Matthew Hill, after Evan Horwood returned the ball in the area.
And the big striker could have scored again but fired wide, as did Charlie Wyke before 20 minutes was up and before a chance for the home side.
The Blades first opening came on 28 minutes, Scott Flinders saving superbly from Nick Blackman.
Two minutes later he was beaten by a routine shot by Michael Doyle, palming the ball into his own net after being wrong-footed.
Pools, whacked 3-0 at Carlisle on Boxing Day, refused to crumble and then took the lead again in an organised and well-drilled performance.
Ritchie Humphreys turned in a close range finish from another Horwood cross and then Howard amazingly made it three with another header from eight yards after good work from James Poole out wide.
In scoring two, he took his tally for the season to three.
Pools defended in numbers magnificently and were only breached when Harry Maguire drilled in with the last kick of the game after soaking up their share of pressure.
It was a first win for new boss John Hughes at the seventh attempt after five defeats.
“It was sweet,’’ he said.“It was a heavy pitch that suited us and to come here to the leaders and score three goals is fantastic.
“Hopefully this gives us confidence and momentum to press on and get out of this situation. “We knew they would have a right go at us and we stood up to it individually and collectively.We had to match them and we did it.’’
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Steve Howard scores Hartlepool’s first goal
MY BALL: Steve Howard refuses to be beaten to the ball as he scores