Bird does the trick as Pools stay alive

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

RYAN BIRD flew into Hartle­pool United this week – and af­ter netting the win­ning goal on his de­but he is hop­ing for liftoff

Pools re­main bot­tom of the Foot­ball League, but are six points short of safety.

Boss Ron­nie Moore hailed this game and the other two this week as defin­ing – and af­ter start­ing with a win, they go to Da­gen­ham on Tues­day des­per­ate for an­other.

Amid a tame and tepid first half, the Dons were the like­lier to score.

Goal­keeper Scott Flinders smoth­ered a Jake Reeves ef­fort and de­fender David Winfield headed against the bar, but Pools didn’t get go­ing.

And it took a half-time blast from Moore to spark them up.

Two low Jack Comp­ton de­liv­er­ies from the left caused prob­lems, the sec­ond saw cen­tre-half Ad­edeji Oshi­laja slice into his own goal­keeper’s hands.

Pools were dealt a blow when Michael Woods was stretchered off with a sus­pected dis­lo­cated an­kle.

But it sparked them up and, af­ter David Mirfin volleyed over, Comp­ton cre­ated the win­ner.

He broke down the left and crossed for Bird to turn in from close range for a de­but win­ner.

With an un­prece­dented 12 min­utes of stop­page time to play out fol­low­ing Woods’ in­jury, Pools kept the Dons at arms’ length.

And Moore beamed: “The first half was tame,

too quiet.We said some­thing at half-time that’s for sure. The tempo wasn’t there..They were happy with 0-0 and we have to put pres­sure on teams.

“Ryan had one chance, a ball drilled at him, and he put it away.’’

He added:“The de­fend­ers stood up to the chal­lenge and we han­dled Ak­in­fwenwe well. Take the first 45 min­utes out of it, but sec­ond half we had a go, tried to get for­ward, get the wingers into the game and one bit of qual­ity from Comp­ton turned it.

“We said this week is a big, big week for the club.We looked like we wanted to win it sec­ond half, so let’s no waste the op­por­tu­nity we have got.

“We are claw­ing oth­ers teams back in, but we can’t waste what we have done.’’ Op­po­site num­ber Neal Ard­ley was fum­ing with his play­ers af­ter their in­ept dis­play.

“I’m very, very an­gry – and dis­ap­pointed.We have been in good form of late and I felt we were poor – not enough en­ergy from minute one,’’ he seethed.

“We didn’t do any­thing the game needed at any point. It was a noth­ing game, and a stupid mo­ment from us when we aren’t set, out of shape, and within three passes the ball is in the net.

“Then we chased the game poorly and they were de­fend­ing for their lives.”

STAR MAN CONNO

R SMITH Hartlep

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