Whis­per it but Pools are just about safe

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

CRAIG HIGNETT won’t ad­mit it’s over just yet, but Hartle­pool United can now be classed as safe in League Two.

A gritty win over AFC Wim­ble­don at Vic­to­ria Park made it five games with­out de­feat for Pools as they put 11 points be­tween them­selves and sec­ond-bot­tom York City.

The trans­for­ma­tion in for­tunes un­der Hignett has been re­mark­able and the boss is aim­ing even higher.

He said:“There’s noth­ing be­low us I worry about.We have games in hand, we’re two points be­hind New­port (in 17th) and I want to get as high as we can.’’

Pools won this one with a well­taken header from cen­tre-half Adam Jack­son.

Luke James’ shot spun up to­wards the de­fender inside the penalty area. With Kelle Roos guard­ing one side of his goal, Mid­dles­brough loa­nee Jack­son ex­pertly placed his header into the un­guarded side of the net.

As far as chances on tar­get went, this was a rare event, but James did hit the frame of the goal with a low shot af­ter be­ing teed up by Billy Payn­ter.

The Dons, with one win in seven games now, had plenty of the ball but lacked a cutting edge and Pools goal­keeper Trevor Carson – an un­used sub­sti­tute for North­ern Ire­land in their draw with Wales – was never stretched.

Wim­ble­don lumped the ball for­ward into the Pools penalty area at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity, but Matthew Bates and Jack­son were out­stand­ing.

Pools de­fended in num­bers and held up well against op­po­si­tion lack­ing imag­i­na­tion.

Hignett said:“De­fen­sively, we were out­stand­ing un­der mas­sive pres­sure.

“We knew what they were try­ing to do and we dealt with it well.

“We prob­a­bly ground it out. Batesy and Jacko were im­mense, but I don’t want to sin­gle out play­ers.

“We want to be bet­ter on the ball and dom­i­nate teams more, but we have to be pleased.

“You can see the spirit and how pleased they are to­gether. The play­ers set the stan­dards. We won’t play worse than we have in the last five games and we are un­beaten.’’ Op­po­si­tion boss Neal Ard­ley said:“It’s dis­ap­point­ing. No­body likes los­ing. The boys gave ev­ery­thing, but Hartle­pool are a much-im­proved team in good form.

“But we’ve just switched off from a sec­ond-phase set-piece and it’s cost us a chance to go home with any­thing.

“I didn’t think it was a free-kick in the first place and I was dis­ap­pointed with all of the of­fi­cials all game.

“But there are no sour grapes. Hartle­pool de­fended re­siliently, put their bod­ies on the line and stood firm. In the end, they’ve taken the points.”

STAR MAN MATTH

EW BATES Hartlep

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