All yesterday’s action from the National League
O’s succumb to Pools’ charge
AWEEK can be a long time in football, but Hartlepool United manager Craig Harrison has enjoyed what he has seen from his team over the past seven days.
Goals from Jonathan Franks and Rhys Oates earned the Monkey Hangers a deserved 2-1 success at Leyton Orient on Saturday in front of the BT Sport cameras.
It was Hartlepool’s fifth National League game without a defeat and continues their excellent start to September.
Harrison said: “We have had a fantastic week. Firstly we beat Dagenham & Redbridge 1-0 at home and they were top when they came to us.
“Then I was pleased we got a clean sheet and a point away to Wrexham, then to come to Leyton Orient, one of the really big teams in this league, and win, I have to give credit to my players because they have been fantastic.” In the end, Hartlepool were well worth the win, but it seemed like being a completely different story at Brisbane Road in the first 45 minutes. Steve Davis saw his team dominate possession and create chances, as they took the lead with 19 minutes played.
Josh Koroma played in David Mooney on the right and although he was denied by Scott Loach, Jobi McAnuff was on hand to slot home the rebound.
It was all looking rosy for O’s at this point and Macauley Bonne nearly made it 2-0 in the 25th minute when he let the ball roll across him before rifling onto the post.
Orient were looking strong, but their recent Achilles heel of defending set-pieces came back to bite them again just before the break.
Nicky Deverdics swung a free-kick in from the left and after failing to clear the first delivery, Keith Watson headed down for Franks to emphatically volley home in first half stoppage time.
If that was a bad way to end the opening 45, O’s began terribly after the restart and conceded a second two minutes into the re-start.
Another Deverdics freekick caused problems and Oates got the faintest of touches to beat Orient goalkeeper Charlie Grainger and make it 2-1.
O’s boss Davis said: “We have certainly not scored enough from set-pieces, but in terms of the goals we have conceded – it is just about people defending properly and not losing concentration.
“We need people to be brave and put their head on it and for two occasions we didn’t do it and it has cost us.”
After going behind, Orient had plenty of possession at Brisbane Road, but couldn’t break down a solid Hartlepool back four.
“We can look at it and say we were a little bit unlucky, but we can also say we didn’t defend them two set-pieces well enough and that’s been the difference,” said Davis.
“Our performance and what we did with the ball was very good, although less so in the second half because they made it difficult once they scored the second.
“We have noticed a pattern emerge in this league that once we fall behind, teams are quite happy to hang onto it and say we need to break them down.”
Hartlepool did just that, but they did it while also looking a threat on the break and Harrison was delighted with his team afterwards. He added: “We do feel we are on a roll and a lot of football is in your head and players at this level are good players, but it is about confidence and belief.
“Wins and picking up points gives you that and all of the players have been fantastic.
“We didn’t start well, but the players have been different class over the last four or five weeks.”
FRANKS A MILLION! Jonathan Franks scores the equaliser before Rhys Oates nets the winner and celebrates, inset
VERDICT: It’s now 13 points from a possible 15 for Hartlepool who are heading in the right direction up the table. Sadly, the same, however, cannot be said for Leyton Orient