We reach the conclusion of our review of the past season as Pools crammed an astonishing eight games in to the month of April but struggled to find consistent form.
With postponements starting to catch up on Pools, April was set to be an incredibly busy month of football with no fewer than eight fixtures staring Craig Hignett’s men in the face.
It began well as Pools picked up all the points from the visit of Mansfield Town to The Vic, as a brace of Billy Paynter penalties was enough to secure a 2-1 win over The Stags.
They couldn’t build on it during the week when Carlisle United ran out 1-0 winners – but Pools were to bounce back in style when they visited Morecambe that weekend…
With Paynter sustaining an injury in the trip to face his former club Carlisle, there were concerns over where the goals would come from at The Globe Arena. But, backed by a packed and boisterous away end, Pools roared in a two-goal lead at Morecambe inside six minutes, with Nathan Thomas particularly unplayable. A memorable game ended 5-2 in the end, the goals coming from Thomas (2), Michael Woods, Luke James and Rhys Oates.
The midweek trip to Notts County rarely hit the same standards despite a promising start and Jon Stead scored the only goal of the game as The Magpies completed the league double over Pools.
Adam Bartlett and Lewis Hawkins both agreed a new deals with the Club, while Jack Blackford penned a first professional contract and was included on the bench for the weekend’s game against York City.
And before a ball was kicked against The Minstermen there was yet more good news as the Club announced that Trevor Carson has also put pen to paper on a new, long-term contract at The Vic. Goals from Nathan Thomas and Michael Woods helped round off a good day with a 2-1 win over City, who were left all but relegated after the result.
Josh Nearney also put pen to paper on a new deal in the same week that the Club made a special presentation to Billy Paynter after the front man reached the milestone of 500 senior appearances.
Accrington Stanley kept their automatic promotion hopes alive with an impressive 2-1 win at The Vic next time out. Rakish Bingham had pulled Pools back on level terms after an early opener for the visitors but Tarique Fosu-Henry dealt the crucial blow with the winner for Stanley.
Pools’ run-in was hugely testing, coming up consistently against sides gunning for promotion at the top of League Two. Their trip to high-flying Oxford United proved a bridge too far as The U’s enjoyed a crucial 2-0 victory which took them to the brink of elevation to League One.
Play-off bound Portsmouth also proved too strong for Craig Hignett’s men in the final home game of the campaign. After a closely-fought first half, Pompey struck twice after the break to ensure the points and consolidate their position inside the top seven.
By the time Pools made the long trip to Plymouth Argyle on the final day, The Pilgrims were already assured of a place in the play-offs – but that didn’t stop the hosts turning in a fine display to run out 5-0 winners. It was a result which Hignett described as “embarrassing” and, in truth, the only saving grace on the day was once again the supporters who turned out in huge numbers for the game, many dressed in unison as Stormtroopers.
With Stuart Parnaby already installed as the Club’s new Strength & Conditioning Coach, Hignett was pressing forward with his plans for 2016/17 but there was still time for the Club to reflect on the past campaign at the End of Season Awards Night at The Grand Hotel.
Unsurprisingly, Trevor Carson grabbed the headlines as he was named both the Fans’ and the Players’ Player of the Year for 2015/16 after a stunning debut season - check out the highlights in this video montage on YouTube.
Lewis Hawkins’ brilliant strike at Barnet was crowned as Goal of the Year, while Adam Jackson was named Young Player of the Year.
Pools 2 Mansfield Town 1 – WATCH
Carlisle United 1 Pools 0 – WATCH
Morecambe 2 Pools 5 – WATCH
Notts County 1 Pools 0 – WATCH
Pools 2 York City 1 – WATCH
Pools 1 Accrington Stanley 2 – WATCH
Oxford United 2 Pools 0 – WATCH
Pools 0 Portsmouth 2 – WATCH
WATCHPlymouth Argyle 5 Pools 0 -