Bird does the trick as Pools stay alive
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