Pools not haunted by home hoodoo

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

IT’S now four home games with­out a win this sea­son, but Hartle­pool United boss Craig Hignett is un­con­cerned.

Pools may have re­named Vic­to­ria Park as The North­ern Gas and Power Sta­dium over the sum­mer, but they need some ex­tra en­ergy to end their poor home run.

Three draws and one de­feat is their record, as they were left to rue missed chances against a well-drilled and de­fen­sive Mans­field Town.

The Stags were happy to sit back and de­fend, frus­trat­ing Pools, but Hignett said: “We’ve not won at home, but it doesn’t bother me. We have taken good steps af­ter los­ing at Steve­nage, home wins will come and we aren’t a mil­lion miles away.

“We want to win at home, to make it a fortress, and we’ve not been beaten by Mans­field.’’

Mid­fielder Josh Lau­rent was de­nied three times. First his close-range vol­ley flew over the bar, then a ris­ing shot was tipped over bril­liantly by keeper Scott Shearer, and fi­nally he al­most con­nected with a Nathan Thomas free-kick at the far post.

Pools thought they had scored when Billy Payn­ter chipped Shearer, but his fin­ish went over the bar too.

Stags left-back Mal Ben­ning curled a shot wide with his right foot af­ter an ad­ven­tur­ous run for­ward, but their best chance came with Matt Green in on goal, only for Pools keeper Trevor Car­son to stand tall and block the close-range fin­ish.

The Stags’ first open­ing came on the hour mark, as Ben­ning tricked his way for­ward and tried a low shot with his right foot which curled wide.

Lau­rent was de­nied when his well-struck shot from 12 yards was well tipped over the bar by Shearer.

Hignett added: “Mans­field put us un­der pres­sure and if you don’t match that then you won’t get the bet­ter of them and you will lose. We did that.’’

Stags boss Adam Mur­ray, who has al­lowed Adam Chap­man to leave and is about to tie striker Green down to a new con­tract, said: “I’m happy with a point. We looked a bit dis­jointed in the first half so tweaked a few things at half-time and then im­proved on the back of it.

“We feel like the start of the sea­son has been bitty and bobby and a bit dis­jointed.

“As a group we have drawn a line un­der the off-field is­sues – Matt Green in the last few games hasn’t been him­self and we have missed him. He’s now about to ex­tend his con­tact which is a mas­sive thing for the group go­ing for­wards.”

STAR MAN LEWIS HAWKINS Hartle­pool

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