Livid Dave lam­basts pitch as ‘dis­grace’

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By An­drew Parker

NEW Hartle­pool United boss Dave Jones la­belled the Rodney Parade pitch “a dis­grace” as his side went down to a dis­ap­point­ing de­feat at the Foot­ball League’s bot­tom club, New­port County.

A de­but goal from Ryan Bird af­ter 15 min­utes and sec­ond-half strikes from Aaron Wil­liams and Dan But­ler sealed a first win since Novem­ber 19 for the home side, who moved to within three points of safety.

And Jones, who saw sub­sti­tute Padraig Amond scram­ble in a con­so­la­tion goal in stop­page time, ad­mit­ted that New­port dealt with the poor play­ing sur­face more ef­fec­tively than his troops.

“We just didn’t com­pete with the con­di­tions or the cor­ners,” said the for­mer Cardiff City man­ager on his re­turn to South Wales.

“We have to be big­ger and braver than that, that’s what we have said to the boys, they are a young bunch and they have to learn from it.

“We have to play, but on that [the pitch] it is dif­fi­cult. But we didn’t adapt to it – they did we didn’t.

“The pitch is a dis­grace but it is the same for them.

“They adapted to it but it is a joke, it shouldn’t even be in the Foot­ball League, it is scan­dalous.”

The first two New­port goals were close-range head­ers from Craig Reid cor­ners be­fore But­ler wrapped up the three points with a stun­ning half-vol­ley into the top cor­ner on 71 min­utes.

“We knew ev­ery­thing that they were go­ing to do, but we just didn’t deal with them es­pe­cially at set-pieces,” said Jones.

“The pitch sur­prised me a lit­tle bit, but we should have dealt bet­ter with that.”

Mean­while, New­port man­ager Gra­ham West­ley was more con­cerned with how his new-look team took the game to their op­po­nents.

He’s added 12 new play­ers to his squad so far this month and the changes are pay­ing off.

“We’re go­ing from strength to strength at the mo­ment,” said West­ley, whose resur­gent side head to 22nd-place Chel­tenham Town next Satur­day.

“We’re three un­beaten now, hav­ing had a hor­ri­ble run of re­sults.

“Lads have come in, they’re start­ing to set­tle to­gether and they’re play­ing foot­ball that looks more ac­cus­tomed to the top end of the league than the bot­tom end of the league.

“It’s a pos­i­tive run of three games for us but we’ve got to make sure that we come back next week­end ready to im­prove on what we did this week­end, although this was still a very good step.”

STAR MAN RYAN BIRD New­port

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