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

RON­NIE Moore has pro­duced a mini-mir­a­cle by keep­ing Hartle­pool United in the Foot­ball League.

Bot­tom of the ta­ble from Oc­to­ber to March, and ten points adrift in Jan­uary, Moore has en­gi­neered a re­mark­able turn­around.

Pools’ win over Ex­eter and de­feats for Tran­mere and Chel­tenham mean the rel­e­ga­tion is­sue at the foot of the ta­ble is re­solved with a game to go.

The for­mer Tran­mere chief ad­mit­ted he had sym­pa­thy for his old club, af­ter they sacked him last year amid an FA charge of bet­ting ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

But now his old club has gone and his cur­rent one is safe.

Pools’ game ended be­fore the oth­ers were over and Moore had an anx­ious wait be­fore the cel­e­bra­tions could re­ally start.

“I asked be­fore any­thing was go­ing on and peo­ple said both had lost,” he said.“I was made up and then you can look like a right pratt! It was only in the tun­nel we found they were still play­ing, it was neve-wrack­ing!

“But the Gods were smil­ing on us, it’s a tremen­dous achieve­ment from ev­ery­one. Sam (Collins, as­sis­tant) and me have a great un­der­stand­ing.

“It’s un­real, the staff are fan­tas­tic and they all sup­port Hartle­pool.

“But it’s, for me, as a manager, you can’t bet­ter that. We are cel­e­brat­ing not go­ing down, and re­ally you want to cel­e­brate at the other end.

“It’s out­stand­ing. I’ve the same feel­ing as back to back pro­mo­tions with Rother­ham, but this tops it.’’

Pools took the lead in a vi­brant first-half dis­play when striker Scott Fen­wick bus­tled his way into the penalty area and fired low across goal­keeper James Ha­mon, as Vic­to­ria Park erupted.

The crowd, how­ever, were soon si­lenced as the Gre­cians – play-off con­tenders go­ing into the game – lev­elled.

Pools con­cede a need­less cor­ner, es­caped when Scott Flinders saved a goal­bound Gra­ham Cum­mins header, but from the sec­ond de­liv­ery the same player was again un­marked to plant home a firm header.

Moore’s side didn’t crum­ble and kept their im­mense workrate up.

Mid­fielder Aaron Tshi­bola won pos­ses­sion, fed Jor­dan Hugill and the loa­nee from Pre­ston clipped home from in­side the area right on half-time.

The Gre­cians had plenty of the ball in the sec­ond-half, but didn’t trou­ble Flinders and, with cen­tre- half Scott Har­ri­son im­mense, they never got in be­hind the back four.

Pools couldn’t find that vi­tal third which would have eased nerves and ten­sion, but the party will long go on in the town.

Vis­it­ing boss Paul Tis­dale said: “We were play­ing against a team fight­ing for their lives and we knew it would be a game of mis­takes. I was hop­ing they would make them and not us.

“We played pretty well, but there were mis­takes in the side that cost us. But all in all, I have no com­plaints. I know what we have to im­prove on next year.

“Be­ing prac­ti­cal, we've come up short.”

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

HEAD­ING HIGH: Gra­ham Cum­mins scoreds for Ex­eter HOLD ME BACK: Har­lepool’s Scott Fen­wick can’t be­lieve he has scored

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