POOLS SHOW HART TO HALT BIG REVIVAL
DELIGHTED Craig Harrison hailed his Hartlepool’s side steely resolve as they fended off revitalised Torquay to extend their seven-game unbeaten run.
Second-half efforts from Rhys Oates and Jonathan Franks sealed all three points for Pools, who are now one point off the play-offs.
It was Gary Owers’ muchimproved Torquay though who enjoyed the better of the first 45 minutes, although crucially without scoring, leaving Harrison to heap praise on his side’s defensive qualities.
“The first half an hour was a bit tricky to say the least,” he said. “They came out of the blocks with a lot of desire and put us under pressure after a very positive result away against Ebbsfleet in midweek so obviously their confidence is high.
“We got in at half time and made a couple of little changes and the lads were fantastic in the second half.”
The Gulls dominated the opening period of the first ever Non-League meeting between the sides as the recalled Ruairi Keating went close twice in the opening 13 min- utes. Arguably Torquay’s best chance fell to Josh McQuoid on 15 minutes when a bursting run and 20-yard strike forced a stunning save from Hartlepool keeper Scott Loach. Eight minutes later, Pools carved out their first chance when left-back Blair Adams went on a mazy run before firing a right footed shot straight at Torquay keeper Vincent Dorel. However, the Gulls were made to pay for their missed chances as Hartlepool took the lead on 55 minutes – Oates nodding home a cross from Adams. Then, on 68 minutes, Pools doubled their lead when Franks found the target with a long-range strike that appeared to take a deflection off Michael Woods. That effectively ended the match as a contest, much to the disappointment of Owers, despite a decent display. “It’s very easy to be negative and react to the result, but I thought in the first half we played really well,” the new Gulls boss said. “We created enough chances to win the game and that’s a fault of ours, or a weakness of ours, that we couldn’t take those chances.”
IT’S OATES SO SIMPLE: Rhys Oates wheels away after putting Hartlepool United in front at Plainmoor