FLORENT QUICKLY FINDS HIS FEET
IN SIX minutes, Florent Cuvelier earned a place in the hearts of the Burton Albion faithful. Signed last week on loan from Sheffield United, the Belgian was on the Victoria Park pitch for only six minutes – but it was enough to add some rare quality to a desperately poor game.
Burton went into the game on the back of successive defeats, a sequence suffered for the first time under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
And they showed their mettle by securing victory at Pools, to move back to the top of the table in the process.
From a Pools set-piece flung into the area, Brewers goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin punched clear. Striker Stuart Beavon took possession and turned towards goal, catching defender Neil Austin wrong-footed as he turned across him with ease.
With Cuvelier overlapping on his left, the ball was played into the Belgian who coolly rolled his finish across Scott Flinders.
Defeat leaves Pools eight points from safety - this was their 22nd defeat of a pitiful season and the door to the Conference is halfway open.
“This was a really important win. We needed a reaction after the two previous games. We showed character as a team,’’ reflected Hasselbaink.
“We were compact and organised. It was never going to be a beautiful game and we were never going to control it all the way through because Hartlepool are fighting for their lives. “The wind was strong, it was never going to be a classic – it was about doing your job for the team and waiting for your chance.
“But character is something you always have to have, whether you’re battling for promotion or not. “We are in a great position and we have a lot of character. You need to show that game in game out and this was no different.
“The goal was a very good feeling and it was from a very good move.’’
The day ended on a disappointing note for Cuvelier, however, as he was withdrawn soon after netting.
“He tweaked his hamstring,” Hasselbaink explained.“It’s not bad but I had to take him off to make sure he will be ready for next week.”
Chances at both ends were a rare event in a game of attrition. On 12 minutes, visiting midfielder Tom Naylor exchanged crisp passes on the edge of the area with Lucas Akins and asked questions of home keeper Flinders with a dipping volley.
Pools offered nothing up front, Marlon Harewood lacking any threat on goal and it was no surprise he was replaced.
Boss Ronnie Moore moaned:“I’m massively disappointed, it was a poor game spoiled by the wind with hardly any football played.
“We didn’t do enough to win it, but didn’t deserve to lose it.
“Not another defeat – we have to see games out, winning or losing. Sometimes that one point might make all the difference.Yes, we needed three but got nothing and a point keeps you ticking on.’’
STAR MAN SCOTT
ool Hartlep ON THE BOARD: Florent Cuvelier scores his first goal for Burton