Pools brought their 8-game goalless run to an end with a 2-0 win over 10-man Bury at The Vic this afternoon.
Defeat today - coupled with other results - could have seen relegation to League Two confirmed and so a victory this afternoon was much-needed.
The game burst into life from the off, with both teams desperately trying to grab that all-important opening goal.
Pools were first to go close; Simon Walton fired a strike through a crowd which was met clumsily by Efe Sodje, who mis-kicked the ball onto the post and the rebound fell fortunately into the keeper’s arms.
Just minutes later and Bury were trying their luck through the lively Nicky Ajose who finished a good move with a shot which was deflected wide by Sam Collins.
Jack Baldwin sent a brilliant ball up the left wing for Darren Holden to meet and the left back sent a lovely first-time cross into the box which Charlie Wyke headed over the bar in Pools’ next attempt on goal.
Ajose was then back in business at the other end as he picked up an Andy Bishop ball to run through on goal but he sent his strike wide of target.
After a frenetic first ten minutes, the game settled a little and it was Pools who were the more forceful – with Andy Monkhouse looking lively on the left of a more attacking 4-4-2 formation.
Luke James was busy in the final third, enjoying an ongoing tussle with 40-year-old Sodje, while Jonathan Franks and Neil Austin were linking nicely down the right.
Pools had the ball in the back of the net mid-way through the half when Sam Collins sent a Franks’ corner past Belford – but referee Mr Drysdale ruled the effort out for a foul.
On 42 minutes, Pools finally broke the 12-and-a-half-hour run without a goal and it was Andy Monkhouse – the last man to score for the Club - who broke the run.
A Franks’ corner from the right was met well in the air by Peter Hartley who powerfully headed back across for Monkhouse, and the winger forced his header over the line. There were some complaints from Bury who claimed the ball had not crossed the line but referee Drysdale – who was the official the last time Pools had scored a goal against Crewe at The Vic – confirmed the strike.
Bury suffered a further blow just before the break when they were reduced to ten men, with Craig Fagan receiving a straight red for a tussle with Darren Holden which was adjudged to have included a stray elbow.
And so Pools went into the break with a real chance to get something out of this game.
John Hughes’ side had started the second half brightly but it was Bury who went closest to adding to the scoresheet; Andy Bishop turned to fire from inside the area and saw his good chance wasted as it went over the bar.
And the visitors went for it for a spell, throwing everything at Pools and putting the back line through their toughest period, though the final product was missing.
There was a good chance at the right end as Pools broke through Franks who fed Luke James through on goal but the youngster saw his final effort blocked wide for a corner by the keeper.
And Pools began to threaten the Bury goal more and more – Monkhouse remained a danger, as did James, while Sam Collins met a Baldwin cross with a diving header but Belford held.
Monkhouse grabbed his, and Pools’, second of the game on 71 minutes when Franks lifted a neat ball into the box and the winger guided a well-placed header past Belford.
Pools continued to dominate, making the most of the extra man but despite chances for Humphreys, James and Monkhouse, there were no more goals this afternoon and the game finished 2-0.
Full Time: Pools 2 Bury 0
Att: 2939 (130 Bury)
Booked: Pools - Monkhouse. Bury - Sodje, Carrington.
Sent Off: Bury - Fagan
Pools: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Holden, Franks, Walton (Rutherford 84), Baldwin, Monkhouse, James (Boagey 89), Wyke (Humphreys 46)
Subs Not Used: McHugh, Luscombe, Rowbotham, Hawkins
Bury: Belford, Eastham, Worrall, Bishop, Carrington,Ajose (Clarke-Harris 54), Aodje, Fagan, Thompson (Mezague 77), Ebanks-Landell, Soares (Regan 78)
Subs Not Used: Carson