Aw­ful run is ended af­ter Hawkes eyes win­ning goal MAIDEN­HEAD 0 HARTLEPOOL 1

Sunday Sun - - Football -

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.

MAR­TIN SWIN­NEY

Star man Luke Molyneux of Gateshead shoots at the Brom­ley goal

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