New-look defence pays off for Pools
HARTLEPOOL United eased their own league situation with only their second win in 12 games – but heaped the pressure on Dagenham in the process.
Billy Paynter’s first-half header separated the struggling sides, leaving the Daggers floundering in the bottom two and without a home win this season.
Coach Warren Hackett said:“When you dominate a game that much you expect to get something out of it.We’ve had at least 11 scoring opportunities. So we’re naturally disappointed.
“It was a soft goal to concede. The disappointing thing for us is that they’ve had one or two opportunities and they’ve taken that one.
“We didn’t take our opportunities to score, we were always on the front foot and trying to get the ball into the box.
“Yes, we got beaten but if we carry on with the right endeavour well come through.”
Pools, after shipping nine goals in three games, changed three of their back four and their goalkeeper – and kept a first clean sheet in five games.
On-loan Luton defender Magnus Okuonghae started and was dominant, while behind him Trevor Carson was solid in his handling.
The Daggers only had half chances, as Ashley Hemmings bounced a close range effort into Carson, before Kane Ferdinand shot wide.
The only goal came when Dan Jones crossed from the left and Paynter was free to loop home a header – his sixth of the season.
Okuonghae headed wide at the start of the second half, and from then on Pools sat deep, content to defend.
Daggers substitute Jodi Jones was introduced at half-time and was a lively threat out wide. A cross from the flank almost caught Carson out when it sailed towards the top corner, but he held onto it well.
Visiting defender Scott Harrison swiped at a loose ball and was relieved to see it fly over his own bar.
Jamie Cureton wasted one opening, failing to connect with an early shot, and in injury time he slipped in front of goal and screwed wide.
Visiting boss Ronnie Moore said:“It’s only Scotty Harrison who survived at the back from last week.We made changes and we asked big Mags to go and head it and he organised things.
“It was a great goal, the delivery was good and Paynts just peeled into space to head in, we deserved to win.
“We had some heart attack moments as balls came into the box and we got our foot in. Cureton had one real chance at the end – maybe we got a bit of luck there for once because that hasn’t happened for us lately.”
STAR MAN LIAM SERCOMBE Oxford
United GREAT SCOTT: Team-mates congratulate Scott Kashket after his late equaliser, pictured inset
STAR MAN JODI JONES Dag &