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Club News

Hartlepool United 2015 Review: Part Two

31 December 2015

We conclude our look back over the past year as we relive another dramatic twelve months at Victoria Park.

June
With the drama of the season finale now dying down, Pools boss Ronnie Moore focused his attentions on rebuilding his squad during the summer months.

Tony Caig was added to the staff as Goalkeeper Coach, while Carl Magnay was signed and quickly followed by Harry Worley, Jake Carroll and Trevor Carson.

On 19th June, the Club announced that a takeover was imminent and three days later JPNG were confirmed as the new owners at Victoria Park with Gary Coxall installed as Chairman.

Scott Flinders confirmed his departure from The Vic when he signed for York City, while Billy Paynter brought experience when he joined the Club from Carlisle United in time for pre-season training starting on 29th June.
July
Neil Austin confirmed his exit from Pools at the beginning of July as the current crop of players prepared for a gruelling visit to an Army Training Camp in Dishforth.

Kudus Oyenuga put pen to paper on a deal as did keepers Adam Bartlett and Peter Denton, while the first of the friendlies came around as Pools thrashed Billingham Town 7-0 at The Evolution Arena.

Season Ticket sales for the new campaign had been strong and the Club announced that the total figure had passed the 3,000 mark at the end of July – as a thank you, the new owners laid on subsidised transport for the Capital One Cup tie at Fleetwood Town in the opening week.
August
After rounding-off their friendly schedule and unveiling Billy Paynter as the new Club Captain, Pools were ready for action and were to enjoy a brilliant start to the new campaign.

On the eve of the first game, Pools fans were given the news they’d been hoping for when it was announced that Ronnie Moore and his assistant Sam Collins had both signed new deals at The Vic.

And they celebrated a fine opening day win as goals from Billy Paynter and Rakish Bingham meant for a perfect start in the sunshine of Victoria Park.

Paynter scored again as Pools won 1-0 at Fleetwood three days later – though they were without their boss as Moore flew out to Spain to be his young daughter who had fallen ill whilst on holiday.

Moore was absent again as Pools won at York for the first time in 27 years when Paynter’s stunner made it 1-1 before Michael Woods forced home a dramatic goal late on to clinch victory.

Paynter’s goal meant he became just the second player in Pools’ history to score in each of his first three competitive outings for the Club.

Pools’ first defeat came at Stevenage where they were beaten 2-0, while Premier League new boys Bournemouth produced a stylish performance to win 4-0 at The Vic in the Capital One Cup.

With an injury to Harry Worley, Ronnie Moore moved quickly to reinforce his defence and Andrew Boyce arrived at Pools on loan from Scunthorpe United.

However, the month ended in further disappointment as Carlisle United came from 2-1 down to score twice in the last fourteen minutes and win 3-2 at The Vic.
September
Pools began September with a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy penalty shootout defeat to Sheffield United and then suffered a 2-1 loss at Wycombe Wanderers despite going in front through Carl Magnay, who was later sent-off for violent conduct.

Brad Halliday joined on loan from Middlesbrough in time for a cruel 1-0 defeat at Exeter City in which the hosts scored with the last kick, while Cambridge United held out for a 0-0 draw on their visit to the north-east to further frustrate Pools.

A return to winning ways with a 2-1 triumph at Yeovil Town was a short-lived feeling of joy as Bristol Rovers continued their fine away form with a 3-0 victory at The Vic next time out.

The month also saw the Club announce the launch of the brand new Hartlepool United Ladies team who began life in the blue and white with a fine FA Cup win over Redcar Town.
October
Luton Town underlined their promotion aspirations with a 4-1 win at The Vic at the start of October, while Pools were also beaten 2-1 by Northampton Town three days later after a slow start at Sixfields.

However, there was bad news on the disciplinary front as Carl Magnay was suspended for six games by the Football Association after being found guilty of spitting at a Wycombe supporter – something he continues to strenuously deny.

Brad Halliday returned to Middlesbrough as two new loan signings arrived in the shape of Luke Hendrie from Burnley and Jason Banton from Wycombe Wanderers ahead of Pools’ long trip to Dagenham & Redbridge.

Moore’s men enjoyed a solid 1-0 win over The Daggers as Billy Paynter was again on target but they had to settle for a point at home to Barnet in midweek during when Rhys Oates scored his first goal for the Club in a 1-1 draw.

October ended with back-to-back defeat as Crawley Town won 2-1 at The Vic before Pools went down 2-0 to much-improved AFC Wimbledon.

One bright piece of news from the month was the announcement that Sky Sports presenter and big Pools fan Jeff Stelling had been installed as the Club’s new Honorary President.
November
There was bad news on the injury front at the start of November when it was confirmed that Harry Worley needed ankle surgery so Ronnie Moore reacted by borrowing Adam Jackson from Middlesbrough. 

Also arriving was Premier League starlet Jake Gray who joined Pools on loan from Crystal Palace and he and Jackson both debuted as Pools edged past Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup thanks to Kudus Oyenuga’s goal.

Pools’ game against Leyton Orient was chosen for live broadcast on Sky and Moore was able to further strengthen his squad with the loan signings of Mikael Mandron from Sunderland and Kal Naismith from Portsmouth ahead of kick-off.

And both players starred in the 3-1 victory over Orient, during which Jake Gray scored his first goals for the Club and boosted confidence in the camp.

However, consecutive defeats to Mansfield Town and Oxford United dampened the mood as Pools headed in to another televised game – their high-profile FA Cup date at Salford City.
December
FA Cup fever had been lingering around Pools since the Second Round draw had pitched them against former star James Poole and his Class of 92 outfit at Salford City.

Rhys Oates gave Pools the perfect start when he won and converted an early penalty but the BBC got a little of what they went for when The Ammies levelled things and forced a replay.

Moore’s men hardly had the best in preparation for the replay as they were beaten 4-0 at Portsmouth; but they negotiated a way past Salford in extra time thanks to goals from Scott Fenwick and Mikael Mandron to set-up a Third Round tie against Derby County.

There then followed a bizarre festive period which was completely devoid of football – the scheduled trip to Carlisle on Monday 28th December was postponed due to the flooding in Cumbria while heavy rain also put paid to our Boxing Day game against Notts County.

It was the first time since 2001 that Pools have not played a Boxing Day fixture and the postponements meant that the Club ended 2015 sitting 21st in League Two.
2015 Record
P50 W18 D7 L25 F49 A67

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