GREAT ESCAPE IS ON SAYS MOORE
THERE’S talk around Hartlepool of The Great Escape. If they manage to survive in the Football League this season, it will be the Greatest Escape.
Rooted to the foot of the table since September, Pools looked a lost cause.
But three wins in a week, without a goal conceded in the process, has put them a tantalising point from safety.
With a home game to come at the weekend against Cambridge, Pools could be off the bottom in a week.
Victory over Mansfield was built on solid foundations and a performance of honesty and commitment – factors lacking for the most of the season to date.
And, while the Stags went down to ten men after Junior Brown was red carded on 60 minutes, the visitors pressed for a leveller, only to be denied three times by goalkeeper Scott Flinders.
Beaming Pools boss Ronnie Moore said: “It’s been a massive week and we said that all along that we do our part, others will falter and others are starting to feel the pressure now.
“I was glad at half-time to get them in as there was no tempo, we had to put pressure on, play high tempo and get at them.
“It’s fantastic for the club to be in this situation. Credit to them as they went down to ten men and went to 3-2-4. If we got a second then we may have won four or five. We didn’t and it was always a worry.
“We have closed the gap, we normally give hope and take it away again, but nothing but praise for the way they have done their job.
“Another home game to come – can we get greedy now? We could come off next week off the bottom of the league, which would be fantastic.’’
Amid a tame opening half as both sides cancelled each other out, Pools went ahead at the start of the second period.
Nicky Featherstone, impressive throughout, was bundled over in the area by Lee Beevers. Bradley Walker stepped up and confidently netted to give Pools a precious advantage.
The Stags were down to ten men when Brown was red carded for planting his studs into Walker’s face as they challenged for a high ball. There was no malice in the incident, but referee Darren Handley had little option other than send him off.
Boss Adam Murray switched to an adventurous 3-2-4 set-up and they created three openings. Flinders saved low from Billy Kee and Reggie Lambe, before he dived high to his right to push out a fierce Chris Clements shot.
Murray said: “We beat ourselves, we knew we would wear them down and chances would come.
“But you cannot start the half like we did and then go to ten men – even more of a struggle. “It was always going to be tough, but we made it harder for ourselves.We beat our
FELLED: Nicky Featherstone is impeded by Mansfield's Lee Beevers to give Hartlepool a penalty RAISED FIST: Ronnie Moore celebrates the win STAR MAN JONAT