Fullarton given a debut to remember
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.”
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