Hignett’s wait for first win goes on

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Nick Lough­lin

THREE games, one win and two de­feats – Craig Hignett is find­ing out about foot­ball man­age­ment the tough way.

Ap­pointed Hartle­pool United boss last week, the for­mer Mid­dles­brough as­sis­tant man­ager saw his new side fall to a harsh de­feat at Ke­nil­worth Road.

The Hat­ters won thanks to an 85th-minute goal from wily striker Craig Mack­ail-Smith, who latched onto a long ball from the back, and smartly lobbed home from an an­gle.

“It was harsh on us, I can see the im­prove­ment in the lads,’’ said Hignett.

“First half we didn’t keep the ball well, but we looked or­gan­ised and solid which was pleas­ing.

“The shape of the team was ex­cel­lent and we worked for each other and we sti­fled them. They ran out of ideas, se­cond half es­pe­cially.

“We will win more than we lose, we just need that lit­tle run of wins.

“First half we cre­ated chances and should have gone in with a goal. Se­cond half we were re­ally good and con­trolled the game and the lads said they didn’t ever feel un­der any pres­sure, we were on top.

“I thought we frus­trated and they ran out of ideas, started hit­ting long balls which showed that.’’

Pools went close in the first half when at­tacker Nathan Thomas prod­ded wide from close range.

But the Hat­ters, who al­most led when Cameron McGeehan prod­ded wide af­ter a deep break, were awarded a penalty on the hour mark as Nicky Feather­stone was harshly ruled to have han­dled.

McGeehan made no mis­take this time.

But the lead lasted only five min­utes as de­fender Adam Jack­son headed in from a Jake Gray cor­ner.

Pools pressed and probed and con­trolled the game. The Hat­ters’ game was lim­ited to cen­tre-half Alan Shee­han pump­ing end­less an­gled balls from deep.

They were com­fort­ably dealt with, but when one from fel­low de­fender Scott Cuth­bert ar­rived it brought the win­ner.

Home boss Nathan Jones said: “They sat back, they came here to do that.We lacked a bit of cut­ting edge and that’s the only rea­son why it wasn’t much eas­ier for us.

“If we had de­fended bet­ter af­ter go­ing in front it would have been eas­ier. Craig Mack­ail-Smith gets in that sit­u­a­tion and wins it for us, but per­haps we should have been ahead be­fore then.

“Hartle­pool knew what we were all about and I want to ed­u­cate the play­ers here, to ed­u­cate the fans and hope­fully they will start to ap­pre­ci­ate what we are all about and what we are try­ing to do here. But we are happy with a win and over­came a real phys­i­o­log­i­cal bar­rier.”

STAR MAN ADAM JACKS

ON Hartlep

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