Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pool's Great Escape Moves Step Closer

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pool's Great Escape Moves Step Closer

Article excerpt

Hartlepool United 3 Crewe Alexandra 0 HARTLEPOOL UNITED keep on doing their bit, and they made it five wins from seven games last night.

But they must wonder just what they have to do to get out of the relegation mix after results again conspired against them.

They went into last night's game eight points from safety, and reduced it to six with victory. But wins for Colchester, Bury and Scunthorpe were unwelcome.

John Hughes has led Pool through an unbeaten February and will surely win the Manager of the Month award after their third victory in a row.

The first half had shades of Pool's victory at Scunthorpe. The opposition had possession and pressed early on, before Pool got on top and went in with a two-goal interval lead.

Only a late, covering tackle from Evan Horwood on the edge of his own area halted the progress of Crewe striker Byron Moore.

Then Pool had two big shouts for handball rejected.

The first one, when Mark Ellis blocked a James Poole shot, was a fair denial from referee Darren Drysdale.

But it was a strange call to wave play on when goalkeeper Steve Phillips used his arm to stop Charlie Wyke skirting around him after Phillips went racing outside his area.

Those chances indicated that Pool were on top. Jack Baldwin flashed a long-range shot wide of Phillips' post on 18 minutes and next time they went at goal they were ahead.

Jon Franks picked out Baldwin at the far post with a lovely crossfield ball and the midfielder headed back across goal from an angle for Wyke to net.

The on-loan Middlesbrough striker reacted first to the ball to head in at the near post under pressure for his second goal for Pool.

There was a blow straight away for Hughes's side when the influential Simon Walton was forced off, replaced by Andy Monkhouse.

Ritchie Humphreys sat deep in Walton's midfield holding role and his interception, to cut out a ball across the six yard area by Moore, was vital. …

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