Pools Pick Up Crucial Three Points
Pools battled from start to finish this afternoon and came away with their just reward and three much-needed points.
There was a frantic start to the game and a fast tempo that was maintained well into the first forty-five.
Pools, playing a new 3-5-2 formation, looked full of energy and really took the game to Morecambe with a real positive approach.
Nicky Featherstone and Aaron Tshibola were busy in the middle, Scott Harrison was a real rock at the back and Jonathan Franks worked hard up front alongside Ryan Bird.
There was a decent chance for Pools after just 8 minutes when a Franks corner from the left picked out Dan Jones rising in the box and he sent a powerful header which went just wide of the far post.
Another ball in from the left, again by Franks was met by Brad Walker but again, his header went wide of Andreas Arestidou’s goal.
Morecambe looked a danger on the break and the Pools defenders had to be on alter – Scott Harrison lead the way with this when he reacted quickly to intercept a Jack Redshaw strike on goal and he cleared the ball away from danger
David Mirfin put in a decent challenge to steal possession from Paul Mullin inside the box as the hosts looked to open the scoring but Pools’ back three were looking solid.
Pools were looking brighter at both ends of the pitch this afternoon and their positive approach paid off on 35 minutes with the opening goal; a great ball upfield by Featherstone picked out Bird pushing into the box. And as the Pools striker prepared to pull the trigger on his shot, defender Andy Parrish intercepted to send the ball rolling past his own keeper and into the back of the net.
Scott Flinders had only one save to make in the first half – from the busy Kevin Ellison – and the Pools keeper made it look easy as he collected at the near post.
Pools took a deserved lead into the second half but faced a tougher challenge after the break as the hosts came out with more fight on show.
And, while Pools were forced to defend more in this second half, there was still enough o promise a second goal for the visitors.
Jonathan Franks, who did not stop running and working hard for the team this afternoon, burst down the left wing to create an opening for his side. While his first cross was returned to him, the second found Brad Walker on the edge of the box but his strike went over the bar.
Morecambe had a great chance to level when Padraig Amond sent the ball fizzing across the face of goal but it just escaped the attentions of everyone, including Jack Redshaw arriving at speed at the far post
With the pressure increasing at the other end, Pools were pushed right back and the hosts looked set to take the lead on 70 minutes when Kevin Ellison had a free header in at goal. But Scott Flinders pulled off a superb save at full stretch to palm the ball off the line and Nicky Featherstone followed up to clear the rebound strike away from goal as the hosts got closer.
With pressure mounting, the home fans thought they had equalised but Ellison’s header hit the wrong side of the net and Pools held on.
With the tempo of the game peaking again, Ryan Bird showed good control to take the ball around the keeper and shoot on goal, only to be denied on the line by the covering defender.
At the other end Amond arrived to send a volley at goal, but his effort went over Flinders’ bar but Pools had more defending to do as Morecambe continued to press in numbers.
And defend Pools did, throwing everything in the way of the ball, spurred on by a brilliant away following who did not stop singing throughout the game.
There were six minutes of added time but Pools held on and picked up a crucial three points, with their first win away from home since October.
Full Time: Morecambe 0 Pools 1
Attendance: 1673 (307 Pools)
Morecambe: Arestidou, Beeley (McGowan 86), Hughes, Redshaw, Wright (Drummond 65), Ellison, Mullin (Sampson 65), Fleming, Wilson, Parrish, Amond.
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Kenyon, Williams, Goodall.
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Harrison, Mirfin, D Jones, Austin, Featherstone, Tshibola, Walker (Hawkins 72), Franks, Bird
Subs Not Used: Maxted, Holden, Richards, J Jones, Harewood, Smith.