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

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


PIC­TURE: Richard Parkes

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


S Hartlep


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