“Another one ticked off for where we want to get to”.
That was the reaction of boss Dave Challinor after Aidan Keena’s superbly-taken late winner at Solihull Moors took Hartlepool United a confident step closer to the National League’s play-off positions.
Pools ended their wait for an away win in dramatic fashion when Keena converted Macauley South-Hales cross five minutes from time.
It was the first away victory since the 5-1 romp at Chesterfield and it came just at the right time for Pools, who are now up to eighth.
Challinor’s side are now level on 54 points with Notts County and Solihull Moors and just four points shy of third-placed Halifax, though he Shaymen have two games in hand.
The Pools manager is not getting carried away but the result has put his team right the mix ahead of Saturday’s visit of Ebbsfleet to Victoria Park.
“It was an archetypal away performance,” said Challinor.
“One great forward run and pass and then Aidan doing what Aidan does and, ultimately, wins us the game.
“It was a great result – we have spoken about these two games against two teams in the play-off positions and we needed a good points return from them.
“That should give the players a lot of belief, the table looks a whole lot brighter now and we’ve got to keep building on that win and what the supporters have given us tonight and take that into Saturday.
“The boring part of me says those results are no good as long as we back them up at the weekend.”
The introduction of Keena proved an inspired move by Challinor, sending on the Irishman on 76 minutes in place of Gime Toure, and he repaid his manager and the travelling army of fans behind the goal with a superbly-taken second Pools goal.
While Pools had a let off on 63 minutes when Jake Beesley’s low shot hit the inside of Ben Killip’s right post with Terry Hawkridge putting the rebound into the side-netting, the away win was not undeserved.
“If the quality’s right, sometimes it only takes one chance,” added the manager.
“We asked them about playing forward, Macca’s made a great run, there was a great ball to him and you wouldn’t pick anyone else in our squad in the six-yard box to put that chance away.”
The evening, sadly, ended on a painful note for Southam-Hales who was taken off in injury time after being hurt in a collision.
Challinor confirmed the on-loan defender was knocked out in the incident and head injury protocols may well rule him out of the visit of Ebbsfleet this Saturday.