WHITE-HOT LEWIS IS FOUR-STAR
HARTLEPOOL United made it six points from two home games in a matter of days to ease the pressure at the foot of League Two – now new boss Dave Jones has told his players that must become the norm.
Pools are unbeaten at home in five games under Jones, as the experienced manager makes a big impact at the club.
The Grecians had 11 wins and two draws away from home prior to their hike to the north east and looked like adding to that record, until a stunning three-minute second-half spell turned the game on its head, with Lewis Alessandra and Padraig Amond netting in quick succession.
Ollie Watkins had given the Grecians the lead but Alessandra’s second in injury-time put the game beyond doubt.
And after beating Crewe on Tuesday, Pools made it seven goals in two games. Unchartered territory for them this season.
Jones said: “A 4-0 and clean sheet like the other night should happen all the time. Maybe we will get to that stage.
“Once we got the leveller our confidence came out. It’s been a good week for us.
“We changed formation to 44-2 and if you say I changed it second half then great, but it was a good team performance by everyone.
“I don’t like picking anyone out, but second half Rhys Oates and Lewis Alessandra worked hard.
“The whole back five did what we asked. We had a lot of the ball, but that final pass wasn’t there in the first half.”
The Grecians should have taken an early lead. Reuben Reid’s shot was parried by keeper Joe Fryer and David Wheeler somehow volleyed against the bar from five yards.
But they did go in front when Watkins brushed off a challenge from Sean Kavanagh, cut inside and fired a low, powerful drive past Fryer from 20 yards.
Pools were struggling to respond and the game was passing them by. But Jones changed formation and the decision paid off quickly.
Nathan Thomas cut in from the right and found Alessandra, who deftly volleyed in from a tight angle to level.
The Grecians claimed a penalty when Watkins went to ground, but referee Rob Lewis played on and Pools broke away. Rhys Oates fed Amond and he finished in style, cracking his shot high past Bobby Olejnik.
Alessandra and Amond both had chances to finish the game off, and in the end the former made it four goals in a week from midfield as he fired in confidently from the edge of the area. Grecians boss Paul Tisdale said: “It was a very comfortable 65 minutes and then it all changed with the bounce of a ball and a couple of good finishes and we were left chasing the game. “We were in complete control and apart from scoring second goal we did everything right. We played really well, the players were on top of their games no doubt about it.
“It shows the fragility of a 1-0 lead. You have to hold your nerve and we lost three points.”
LEVELLER: Lewis Alessandra celebrates after scoring Hartlepool United's first goal
TACKLE: Brad Walker tracks back
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