Away day joy at last for sorry Hartle­pool

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

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

ON Hartlep

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