Ben helps Westley win Pools yet again
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