Pools made it seven games unbeaten with a well-deserved 3-0 victory over Crewe Alexandra at The Vic this evening.
First-half goals from Charlie Wyke and Jonathan Franks and a late effort from Andy Monkhouse saw Pools continue their recent run of good form and lift Pools to 30 points in the League One table.
With other results seeing John Hughes’ men remain in 23rd position in the league, though the gap to safety is now down to six points.
Pools had to deal with an early wave of pressure from Crewe as the visitors kept Hughes’ men pinned inside their own half for the first ten minutes.
A freekick on the 10th minute sparked a change in fortunes for Pools though and the tide quickly began to turn.
Evan Horwood lifted the freekick forward into the box where James Poole saw one shot blocked by Steve Phillips before seeing a second volley blocked by the defender – with a hint of handball that was denied by the official
Crewe did hold a threat going forward and Chuks Aneke tried his luck with a low strike which found Scott Flinders waiting to collect.
There was controversy when a long ball over the top by Poole sent Charlie Wyke running in on goal, forcing Phillips outside of the area.
And when the keeper looked to handle outside of the box, Pools were vocal in their appeals but once again the referee ignored them.
Jack Baldwin, who was a real force in midfield this evening, had a great effort on goal when he fired in from 30 yards but his powerful strike screamed just wide of Phillips’ right-hand post.
Less than ten minutes later and Baldwin was involved again in a chance on goal – this time with more success; a great ball from Franks from the left found Baldwin at the far post and he was strong to win the header, sending the ball back across goal where Charlie Wyke hit home from close range.
The goal was a deserved opener for Pools who had looked much the brighter after a tight opening.
The front three of Franks, Wyke and Poole were again key for Hughes’ men, causing problems with their constant running.
Simon Walton, who had again been bright in the opening period of the match, was forced off through injury just before the half-hour mark – Andy Monkhouse who has been lively in recent sub appearances replaced him.
Pools continued their pressure on the visitors and went on to double their lead just before the break. And, in similar style to his goal at Scunthorpe on Saturday, Jonathan Franks created and scored it himself.
The forward latched onto a good ball forward by Poole who had nicked a loose pass to take the advantage. Franks then showed great determination to battle his way past numerous red shirts and sent a snapshot off at goal, which beat Phillips and found the bottom corner.
Once again Pools took a two-goal lead into the break and again it was a deserved advantage.
Hughes’ men continued their dominance after the break as they kept the Crewe back line well and truly on their toes.
In the early part of the second half, James Poole was denied by Phillips, Charlie Wyke saw a header creep wide and Evan Horwood’s thunderous effort was blocked wide by the keeper.
Peter Hartley and Andy Monkhouse also threw themselves into the attack as Pools looked to extend their advantage in the second half.
James Poole intercepted another short pass by Crewe at the back to push forward and play in Franks – this time though he sent his effort just wide under big pressure from the defender to deny a repeat of his first-half strike.
Pools, clearly were determined to their two-goal advantage and showed a great battling attitude throughout and the visitors were made to work hard for every ball.
Jonathan Franks, clearly buoyed by the confidence running through the team picked up possession 25 yards out on goal and sent a rocket off towards goal but he saw the ball scrape just wide of the post.
Pools did find that third goal on 91 minutes when a ball from Franks found Wyke in space inside the area but the striker was denied on three occasions – but Andy Monkhouse made sure on the fourth attempt as he smashed the ball home to make it 3-0.
While the second half did lack the tempo of the first, Pools remained in control in what was an assured display and were thoroughly deserving of the three points.
While Pools will have been hoping to see other results go in their favour this evening, the players are doing their best to ensure safety remains within touching distance - and with just 6 points now to 20th position, there is still plenty to play for.
Att: 3509 (105 Pools)
Booked: Poole (45)
Pools: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Walton (Monkhouse 27), Humphreys, Baldwin, Franks (James 91), Wyke, Poole (Luscombe 81)
Subs Not Used: McHugh, Holden, Rutherford, Howard
Crewe: Phillips, Ellis, Dugdale, Murphy, Leitch-Smith (Colclough 80), Moore, Mellor, Robertson, Osman, Aneke (Clayton 71), Inman (Pogba 49)
Subs Not Used: Martin, Tootle, Davis, Turton