Ben helps West­ley win Pools yet again

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Thomas Hannah

GRA­HAM West­ley has the whip hand when it comes to Hartle­pool United with his Steve­nage side yet to lose in six meet­ings with Pools.

But de­spite the psy­cho­log­i­cal ad­van­tage, West­ley ad­mit­ted Boro’s in­jury-weak­ened side had been forced to battle for victory at Vic­to­ria Park.

With­out a win in four, West­ley’s men com­fort­ably saw off their rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened op­po­si­tion thanks to two sec­ond-half goals from one of his new play­ers, Ben Kennedy.

“He caught my eye play­ing for the youth team in the FA Youth Cup,” said West­ley. “He played a in a train­ing ground game a cou­ple of weeks ago and got him­self a hat-trick.

“He worked hard and earned plenty in the way he played the game. He took his goals very well.

“We came here with a weak­ened squad and this was a ba­nana skin for us, com­ing here against a team fight­ing for their lives and who have been in good form at home.

“But credit to the play­ers, they were ter­rific. They didn’t start well and it was tough with play­ers in dif­fer­ent po­si­tions, but credit to them as their work ethic and com­mit­ment to stick­ing to a game plan was ex­cep­tional.

“It was tough and we had to dig in, we did it and de­served to go ahead and could eas­ily have had more.’’

Boro went ahead when Dave Martin stole in be­hind Michael Duck­worth when the right-back mis­judged a deep cross and fin­ished well.

Pools of­fered lit­tle up front in the first half, but af­ter tak­ing off the in­ef­fec­tive Mar­lon Hare­wood, his re­place­ment soon lev­elled.

Scott Fen­wick turned in the area to fire low past Chris Day, but par­ity only lasted min­utes.

A cor­ner was poorly cleared by Neil Austin and Kennedy was picked out for a free header.

Pools’ con­fi­dence was hit and they went fur­ther be­hind as Kennedy got away and fin­ished one on one against keeper Scott Flinders.

The gap to safety is seven points for Pools and boss Moore said:

“We’ve got play­ers here who will have two or three good games and then have a stinker – we hope this is a stinker and a one-off,’’ he said.

“This was the most im­por­tant game this club has had in don­key’s years. We could have, af­ter see­ing the re­sults, been four points short. I know we can do an aw­ful lot bet­ter and it’s so dis­ap­point­ing.

“They had chances to make the score­line a bit heav­ier, I never thought we could col­lapse like that but it shows for all my years in man­age­ment I should never be sur­prised. This has set us back and now we have to go again.’’

STAR MAN BEN KENNE

DY Steven

age

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