POOLS SAY IT’S NOT OVER YET

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Jon Palmer

HARTLE­POOL must de­feat ti­tle-chas­ing Don­caster on the fi­nal day of the sea­son to give them­selves a chance of avoid­ing the drop after a nar­row de­feat at Chel­tenham.

Danny Wright’s first half header se­cured the points for the Robins, who are now math­e­mat­i­cally safe from rel­e­ga­tion.

But Pools’ new in­terim man­ager Matthew Bates said his side’s per­for­mance at Whad­don Road has given him gen­uine be­lief they can pull off the great es­cape, with ri­vals New­port County at home to Notts County.

“I am more con­fi­dent we can get a re­sult against Don­caster Rovers now,” Bates said.

“We got pun­ished for one lapse of con­cen­tra­tion and we could have caved, but the lads re­sponded well and went back to the ba­sics we’ve been work­ing on all week.

“We are dis­ap­pointed we didn’t get a re­sult. If you look at the game, a lot of the ball was in the air, which was in­evitable with the state of the pitch.

“We have had a good week and they’ve done ev­ery­thing we have asked of them. On another day we come away with at least a point, with the goal­keeper man of the match, which says a lot.”

Chel­tenham’s act­ing boss Rus­sell Mil­ton ad­mit­ted it was a huge relief to get the job done at home, with a fi­nal-day trip to Portsmouth for last year’s Na­tional League cham­pi­ons.

“It has been a hard two months for var­i­ous rea­sons, but we all stuck to­gether and got the job done in the end,” said Mil­ton, who has stepped up in the ab­sence of Gary John­son after heart surgery.

“It was a good all-round per­for­mance and we knew we’d have to de­fend, play the per­cent­ages and we scored a good goal.

“They needed a win and made it hard for us and did well, so credit to our lads for a heroic ef­fort.

“We knew the first goal would be so im­por­tant and if you get ahead on this pitch it’s hard to peg it back.

“As the game went on we had to adapt and make changes ac­cord­ingly.

“Scott Brown was ter­rific in goal and I’ve men­tioned him many times. When you need some match-win­ning saves he pulled a few out in the sec­ond half. It was a heroic ef­fort.”

The only goal came in the 17th minute when Harry Pell’s cross was nod­ded past ex-Chel­tenham goal­keeper Trevor Car­son by Wright for his 11th goal of the cam­paign.

Brown turned over a header from Lewis Hawkins over the bar and then blocked well from Padraig Amond after a poor back­pass from Carl Winch­ester.

Liam Davis made a last-ditch clear­ance at the far post to keep out Lewis Alessan­dra’s ef­fort in the 57th minute and Brown made another good stop to deny sub­sti­tute Con­nor Simp­son as Chel­tenham held on.

PICTURES: ProS­ports/Antony Thompson

CLOSE CALL: Padraig Amond's at­tempt is saved by Chel­tenham goal­keeper Scott Brown DE­LIGHT: Chel­tenham cel­e­brate at the fi­nal whis­tle

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