Cool-hand Luke has City eyes on safety

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

FOR York City, Foot­ball League safety is in sight; for Hartle­pool United the threat of rel­e­ga­tion re­mains.

But Min­ster­men boss Russ Wil­cox in­sists he won’t re­lax just yet, de­spite ten-man City, who had Dave Winfield sent off in the first half, per­form­ing de­fen­sive hero­ics against Pools to make it three wins from four games

It put York nine points above the bot­tom two but Pools re­main en­trenched in the dog­fight. With both Chel­tenham and Tran­mere los­ing they stay a point ahead of the bot­tom two, but it’s now look­ing like a four-team battle at the bot­tom with Mans­field also strug­gling.

“It was a dis­play full of char­ac­ter, or­gan­i­sa­tion and be­lief,’’ said Wil­cox. “To go down to ten men – wrongly in my eyes be­cause it was a ter­rific chal­lenge from Dave Winfield – showed we have great to­geth­er­ness and great spirit.

“It was a fluky goal – but if you don’t shoot, then you don’t score and that shot has put us close to sur­vival.

“Are we safe? Not yet, teams at the bot­tom can catch us, but we are five un­beaten.”

Amid a tame open­ing half with the home back three on top, Pools strug­gled to break down the de­fend­ers un­til Winfield was red carded on 45 min­utes. As Pools mid­fielder Brad Walker knocked the ball for­ward, the cen­tre-half lunged in two-footed.

Ref­eree Keith Stroud didn’t hang about be­fore show­ing the red card and the home side were in­censed.

They re­grouped at the break, changed to a 3-4-2 set-up and kept Pools at arm’s length.

And they won the game when Pools failed to clear con­vinc­ingly at the back and Luke Sum­mer­field’s shot was de­flected be­yond keeper Scott Flinders.

Pools had all the pos­ses­sion but rarely trou­bled keeper Michael Ing­ham who made one fine stop to deny Jon Franks.

Pools had scram­bles galore, but failed to find the net, even at the death with Flinders al­most get­ting a touch to a cor­ner.

Pools boss Ron­nie Moore said: “It’s dis­ap­point­ing for us all. I couldn’t see them scor­ing all day for me and for the goal he’s ran a long way and got a de­flec­tion.

“We should have upped the tempo and were too loose with our build-up play. When we did get in there and be­hind them we had to have a go at them.

“There was no pen­e­tra­tion – no killer touch and that luck we have had has gone against us.We needed a goalscorer, a bit of luck or de­flec­tion.

“We brought 2,000 fans here, you want to come off with a 3-0 and en­joy it. It wouldn’t make us safe, but would go a long way.”


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