Mur­ray’s axed after Spar­tans Cup shock

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP SECOND RND - By Thomas Han­nah

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.

PIC­TURES: Mick Kearns/TGSPHOTO

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

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