Away day joy at last for sorry Hartlepool
WITHOUT a clean sheet in over a year, and with only two away wins all season, Hartlepool United put a halt to their travel sickness.
Pools, still six points short of safety at the foot of the table, gave a fully-committed display and picked up three points away from Victoria Park for the first time since mid-October.
They still have everything to do – and more – if they are to stay up or even give themselves a chance of the greatest of escapes, but they now go to Oxford on Tuesday in good heart.
“It was a committed performance,’’ reflected Pools boss Ronnie Moore.
“Players put their bodies on the line, the keeper made some good saves and we have deserved the win.
“We changed formation – they have played 3-5-2 all season so we matched them up and then they go and change to 4-4-2. The best laid plans and all that.
“But we stuck at the system and it worked well. The players suited it, the lads up front worked hard and we had bodies back to defend.
“The three centraldefenders were solid and Scott Harrison was majestic – and he has been since he signed from Sunderland.
“He headed everything away and, in the dressing room after the game when I finished talking to them all, he said he felt a bit emotional in there.
“It just shows a big centre-half fully committed and what it means to him.’’
Deep into six minutes of stoppage time, three times Harrison won towering headers to see his side over the line.
The goal came when Nicky Featherstone’s long ball from the back split the home defence, Ryan Bird collected the pass and looked set to score before Andy Parrish nipped in and touched the ball past his advancing goalkeeper.
Pools didn’t create much after that, Bird seeing an effort cleared off the line aside.
At the other end, Harrison and Co were the busier. Kevin Ellison was denied by a fine Scott Flinders save, from the rebound Featherstone cleared off the line.
A low ball from the right by Paul Mullin evaded all and went out for a throw on the far side, before Ellison clipped the bar under pressure from David Mirfin. Home boss Jim Bentley moaned: “We didn’t get the result, it’s so frustrating.We go away last week to Luton, win 3-2 and they are at the top, unbeaten at home since September.
“Then we play bottom of the league, who’ve had no clean sheet for ages, not won away from home in ages and they win 1-0.
“We get an opportunity, think we are great and fall flat on our face.
“Fair play to them, they got the goal, dug in, rode their luck and saw it out with some luck.
“We created chances all game, had opportunities and got done by a ridiculous goal.”
STAR MAN SCOTT HARRIS