Pools let the win get away at the death HARTLE­POOL 1 DA­GEN­HAM 2

Sunday Sun - - Football -

SEVEN de­feats in a row for Hartle­pool, and with­out a per­ma­nent man­ager. This sea­son wasn’t sup­posed to be like this.

Then again the calamity of last sea­son wasn’t ei­ther.

Matthew Bates was sacked last week af­ter a sixth de­feat in a row, Craig Hignett tak­ing over as a tem­po­rary boss.

New boss, same story. Pools were lead­ing 1-0 as the game en­tered the 90th minute and still con­trived to throw it away.

Un­til the dra­matic end­ing, Pools were the bet­ter team, tak­ing the game to the op­po­si­tion and be­ing pos­i­tive in at­tack. They played on the front foot and at­tacked well.

Pools started well, look­ing far from a team strug­gling and in freefall. Af­ter one early penalty ap­peal was knocked back, they were soon awarded one. Mark Kitch­ing was tugged in the box.

Liam No­ble, cap­tain and back in the team af­ter be­ing dumped by Bates for dis­ci­plinary rea­sons, made no mis­take, send­ing the keeper the wrong way from 12 yards.

Josh Hawkes was play­ing in a free role be­hind the front two and the teenager im­pressed.

A flow­ing move saw Hawkes ven­ture into space to shoot from 20 yards, his shot de­flected and then pushed over by El­liot Justham.

The keeper then al­most spilled a Niko Muir shot into his own net, happy to see it bounce out for a cor­ner.

Dag­gers’ Jack Munns, who spent a dis­ap­point­ing spell at Pools last sea­son, was re­placed af­ter an in­ef­fec­tual hour.

Pools should have had a sec­ond when Carl Mag­nay met a No­ble cor­ner in the six-yard area, but steered wide.

The Dag­gers weren’t of­fer­ing much go­ing for­ward, and Pools were good for their ad­van­tage.

Niko Muir, Luke James and Josh Hawkes opened up the visi­tors de­fence with their move­ment and sharp pass­ing, but the lat­ter had a lapse of con­cen­tra­tion, pass­ing to the keeper in­stead of shoot­ing with a clear open­ing 18 yards out.

But the game turned on its head late on. Con­nor New­ton, on at left wing back for Kitch­ing, fouled Alex McQueen, with the visi­tors adamant the foul was in the area and they should have had a penalty.

It mat­tered lit­tle. From the free-kick, Ben Goodliffe was gifted enough space to head in.

Pools chased a win­ner from a cor­ner. In­stead they were caught on the counter-at­tack.

Keeper Scott Loach par­ried, Matt Robin­son tapped in. Cue the fa­mil­iar ab­ject mis­ery from all in­side Vic­to­ria Park.

Pools will be look­ing to swiftly ap­point a new boss this week. Among the can­di­dates are exNew­cas­tle and Sun­der­land star Lee Clark, while Hignett ad­mit­ted the club has had a lot of can­di­dates al­ready mak­ing their in­ter­est known.

“It’s a sucker punch, I feel like I’ve been bat­tered,” he said. “In parts I was so pleased, but it’s re­mem­bered for the end­ing.

“It’s hap­pened a lot to us with a soft un­der­belly – and it needs ad­dress­ing, but for 89 min­utes we were fan­tas­tic.

“I wouldn’t dig peo­ple out like that, Con­nor knows what is re­quired, he’s held us hands up in the dress­ing room we win to­gether, we lose to­gether.’’

As for the va­cant job, he said: “We have had a lot of ap­pli­ca­tions, a lot of good ones and we draw up a list over the week­end and will hope­fully speak to peo­ple soon. There’s a real good squad of play­ers there, but they need a bit more.

“This is the worst we are go­ing to get with the way things are in terms of the squad and bud­get. We still want the play­offs, pro­mo­tion as quick as we can but I know we will keep im­prov­ing as a foot­ball club.’’


Ac­tion from the FA Vase clash be­tween Shildon and Sun­der­land RCA; the lat­ter won 3-2 RE­PORT: Pages 62-63


Gavin Cog­don and Jon Shaw (left) cel­e­brate scor­ing for South Shields against Mat­lock RE­PORT: Page 66

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