Fullar­ton given a de­but to re­mem­ber

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

HARTLE­POOL United ended a nineyear wait for a win over Wy­combe Wan­der­ers – but how they had to work for it.

Scott Fen­wick’s crisp first-half vol­ley proved the dif­fer­ence, as the mean­est de­fence in League Two was breached.

Wy­combe had only con­ceded seven times pre­vi­ously and Fen­wick’s 33rd-minute fin­ish was the first goal they have given away in an open­ing 45 min­utes since last March.

Fen­wick’s goal was cre­ated by Pools’ new re­cruit Nathan Thomas. Signed last week from Mans­field, the left-winger darted down the flank and fired in a teas­ing cross which was met by Fen­wick eight yards out for his sixth goal of the sea­son.

Much more of this from Thomas and the Pools’ front line, with only 21 goals in 22 games this sea­son, could be find­ing top gear.

Man­ager Ron­nie Moore said:“It was a great ball for the goal, for any striker. Any striker play­ing for us will be lov­ing get­ting de­liv­ery from him.The qual­ity will come.

“That’s the sort of win we love, where we grind them out. It’s a tough game that and it’s nice when play­ers give their all.

“In the last 20 min­utes they threw the kitchen sink at us – the ball needed an asprin at the end of the game they thumped it that high and that long. It’s about see­ing it out, but it’s a fan­tas­tic win.’’

Thomas al­most cre­ated an opener on 18 min­utes. He robbed right-back Ja­son McCarthy on the touch­line and mo­tored into space, but none of his team-mates were able to make up the ground into the penalty area and when Jake Gray did get there, the fi­nal ball just evaded him.

Mid­fielder Michael Woods danced his way into the area, but hes­i­tated and opted against shoot­ing when only Matt In­gram stood be­tween him and a cer­tain goal.

But Pools were play­ing on the counter at­tack, as the Chair­boys had all the pres­sure and pos­ses­sion. They probed and lumped end­less long balls into the area. Cen­tre­halves Scott Har­ri­son and Adam Jack­son, how­ever, were im­pres­sive.

Cen­tre-half Aaron Pierre looked like he was head­ing in the lev­eller in the 65th minute only for Pools keeper Trevor Car­son to tip the ball over. And then a low Joe Jacobson free-kick bounced nicely for the keeper to smother.

Richards made two vi­tal de­fen­sive cov­er­ing head­ers, Pools sat deep and threw bod­ies in front of the ball and some­how saw it out.

The Chair­boys should have had a penalty when Lewis Hawkins felled Sam Wood, but ref­eree Mark Brown was hav­ing none of it.

The de­ci­sion left man­ager Gareth Ainsworth fu­ri­ous. “I don’t know how we never scored in the se­cond half, but the ref­eree has to give a penalty late on,” he said. “It was a stone-wall penalty and those are game-chang­ing de­ci­sions.

“We were poor in the first half and prob­a­bly didn’t de­serve to win, but that de­ci­sion makes it dif­fi­cult to take the loss.

“Hartle­pool are in a strug­gling po­si­tion at the mo­ment and we could have taken ad­van­tage of that, but they got the goal and that made the dif­fer­ence in the end.” JAMIE FULLAR­TON hailed a “first-class” de­fen­sive per­for­mance as he be­gan his man­age­rial reign at Notts County with vic­tory.

The Mag­pies ap­pointed the Scot as Ri­cardo Moniz’s suc­ces­sor last week and the for­mer Crys­tal Palace mid­fielder en­gi­neered only a se­cond League win on the road this sea­son.

Filip Va­len­cic’s de­but goal was enough to seal the three points on a mem­o­rable day for Fullar­ton, the Slove­nian scor­ing a sump­tu­ous vol­ley from 25 yards.

But it was the de­fen­sive per­for­mance which pleased Notts’ new man­ager with the clean sheet their first since Oc­to­ber.

“It’s a great three points, but it’s only three points,” he said.

“Break­ing records doesn’t re­ally come into our thought process.

“You’ve got to give credit to the play­ers be­cause they are the ones who take in the in­for­ma­tion then act upon it. Ev­ery man played their part – they were first class.

“It wasn’t just the cen­tre-backs, de­fend­ing is about the team not any in­di­vid­ual.

“It’s not just the de­fence which stops you con­ced­ing goals, it’s what hap­pens in front in terms of mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to play bet­ter balls into the box, there­fore mak­ing the job eas­ier for the de­fend­ers.

“From the cen­tre-backs to the cen­tre-for­wards, we had a game plan and we stuck to it.”

Notts’ vic­tory put the skids on Craw­ley’s im­pres­sive home form with the Reds hav­ing gone into the game with a record of seven wins out of eight.

They started well and could have taken the lead only for Notts goal­keeper Roy Car­roll to deny Gavin Tom­lin with a ter­rific ac­ro­batic dive.

Jon Ash­ton also wasted a good chance in the se­cond half with a free header, but on re­flec­tion MarkYates praised Notts for do­ing their home­work and iden­ti­fy­ing their main threats. “I have not been dis­ap­pointed with too many of our home per­for­mances of late, but they came and did a job on us,” said the Craw­ley man­ager.

“They’ve just ap­pointed a new man­ager and he’s done his home­work on us.You’ve got to give them credit.

“Un­for­tu­nately, we didn’t do what we’ve been do­ing that has got us re­sults. If you don’t do that, then you will not cre­ate chances that will win you the game.

“It was dis­ap­point­ing but we have just got to pick our­selves up.

“We know what we are. We won’t beat our­selves up too much.We didn’t re­ally cre­ate that much, but I am not go­ing to have a go at the boys.

“Some­times you have to give credit to the op­po­si­tion. There were some bright mo­ments, but we didn’t do enough to win.”

PIC­TURES: Ge­orge Ledger/ Pro Sport


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