Awful run is ended after Hawkes eyes winning goal MAIDENHEAD 0 HARTLEPOOL 1
CRAIG HIGNETT said last week that Hartlepool are at their lowest ebb, that the club – and team – will only be on an upward curve from here.
Perhaps that trajectory has just started.
Pools went to Maidenhead on the back of seven successive defeats, crumbling in injury time to lose at home to Dagenham last time out.
But a single strike from Josh Hawkes, a player who Hignett clearly believes in, was enough to get them three points for the first time since October 6.
It’s a run of results that cost Matthew Bates his job as manager and now attention turns in the coming days to the appointment of a replacement.
Hignett insists he isn’t a contender and doesn’t want the job although he has enjoyed being back on the training ground and in the dugout at the club where he was boss until being fired in February last year.
Havant & Waterlooville boss Lee Bradbury has had talks and is in the frame. He led his side to a 2-1 win over Braintree in the National League yesterday.
Pools have interviewed more than Bradbury, former Newcastle and Sunderland midfielder Lee Clark among them.
Hignett said: “We are right in the middle of the process – speaking to candidates, taking our time, do our due diligence and get the right man in place.
“We have a shortlist, interviews are taking place, then we go away and find out as much information as we can about them to make sure we are making an informed decision.’’
Hawkes made an impression under Bates last season as Pools avoided relegation. But Bates kept him on the sidelines for most of this campaign.
He scored in Pools’ thumping defeat at Dover, started the next game and then Bates was sacked. Hignett has twice played him in a number 10 role behind the front two and been rewarded with a man of the match display last week, and a goal this time.
His strike was a match-winner, cracking in low from 20 yards in the first half.
After Niko Muir and top scorer Liam Noble went close, Hawkes struck on 17 minutes.
There was a blow for Hignett when Peter Kioso, one of three centre-halves alongside the recalled Myles Anderson and Carl Magnay, was stretchered off, replaced by Kenton Richardson, who performed well.
A reckless and silly challenge on Luke James by home midfielder James Comley saw Maidenhead down to ten men and Pools saw the game out with little bother.
They forced a string of second half corners, but were unable to make their pressure count, while Muir went close to adding a second.
Now, with the relief at the final whistle clear for both players and travelling fans, focus turns to making the right appointment to lift Pools back into play-off contention.
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