Murray’s axed after Spartans Cup shock
PAUL Murray may have been sacked by Hartlepool in the aftermath of their FA Cup exit to minnows Blyth Spartans on Friday, but the doomed boss left a parting shot to his “diabolical” players.
Pools, rooted to the bottom of the Football League with only three wins this season, were always vulnerable against their Non-League, northeast neighbours.
And, despite taking the lead, they crumbled in the second half, 45 minutes of football in which the parttimers showed a willingness and belief and the professionals played with the authority of a Sunday morning side.
A 90th-minute goal from Jarrett Rivers sent the Northern Premier League side through to Monday’s third round draw.
And it left Murray, who had only been in charge since October after the departure of Colin Cooper, jobless.
But before finding out his fate, Murray’s anger was clear to see:“There wasn’t enough passion, desire and effort,” he fumed.
“It was diabolical; the second half was just not good enough. If I knew what it was down to I would be telling them.We didn’t show enough desire, we were short.
“Personally it hurts. I played football with passion, desire, commitment and relishing the challenge and in the second half we didn’t have enough.”
Sunday morning foot- ball is where Spartans’ keeper Peter Jeffries was playing five years ago.
He made a tremendous early save to deny Marlon Harewood and was solid all evening at the club where he used to be a season-ticket holder.
“I’m taken aback by what happened, I’ve never played in a game like it,’’ he beamed.“I couldn’t quite see the winning goal from the other end until the net moved and then saw everyone dive in.’’
Jeffries was involved in the game’s controversial moment, pulling a Harewood shot back on the line and replays proved inconclusive if it crossed or not.
Of his first save he said: “I’ve not seen it back, but everyone said it was a really, really good save.” Jonathan Franks did beat Jeffries, heading in from close range from a Neil Austin cross on the half-hour mark.
But Blyth bit back through Steven Turnbull, who curled home a super free-kick on 56 minutes.
And coming from a former Pools trainee, how he lapped it up.Pools’ confidence disappeared and there was only one team going to win it.
Spartans robbed the hosts of possession, switched play and Rivers surged into the area and fired in low, via a deflection, spelling the end of Hartlepool’s cup hopes – and Murray’s short-lived tenure.
STAR MAN ROBER
T TAYLOR Gillingh
am ROARING: Kwesi Appiah earned Cambridge a replay with a late equaliser
STAR MAN JARRET
T RIVERS Blyth Spartan