Goals in the first half from Alex Pattison and Jack Muldoon delivered a much needed three points or Town in a 2-1 win against Hartlepool United this afternoon at The Envirovent Stadium.
Despite a late scare when Josh Umerah struck with five minutes remaining they held firm for the win, their first in nine league outings. The victory also saw them leapfrog Pools in the table, who remain winless on their travels this season.
Town welcomed back Josh Falkingham to the line-up, with the skipper replacing Josh Austerfield in the starting line-up. Warren Burrell also came in to the starting eleven in place of Matty Daly.
For the visitors recent Theo Robinson was handed an immediate debut following his arrival from Bradford this week. Jamie Sterry also returned to the side with Reghan Tumilty dropping down to the bench.
Town made a nervy start to the game, with the strong wind also causing problems for the defence in particular and the visitors had the first effort of note when Mark Shelton tested Pete Jameson from distance. Town’s keeper could only parry and was grateful that Jaheim Headley was on hand to clear.
Headley was in action at the other end of the pitch soon after and took a pace from Warren Burrell into the box but with the ball on his weaker right foot he dragged his effort wide.
Town were almost punished for losing possession on ten minutes when top scorer Josh Umerah pounced and fired at Jameson with the ball almost squirming through his grasp.
Good work from Alex Pattison created danger in the Pools box, forcing a goalmouth scramble before Danny Grant forced a save from Ben Killip.
Pattison then intercepted an errant pass to drive forward towards the opposition goal but he played in Grant when perhaps better positioned himself and Killip comfortably dealt with his shot.
Town did take the lead on 25 minutes when a head flick on caused hesitation at the back and Pattison was on hand to fire home past Killip. The goal gave Town a lead for the first time since the away win at Gillingham almost two months ago.
Hartlepool were almost level less than minute later when Umerah pounced on a long ball but smashed his effort wide of Jameson’s left-hand post.
The goal though had given Town a much needed shot in the arm with confidence beginning to visibly grow.
And on the stroke of half-time they doubled heir lead following a fine team move. Excellent inter-play on the left between Headley and Pattison saw the latter deliver an inch perfect cross to the far post where Muldoon powered past Killip to make it 2-0.
Stung by the scoreline, Keith Curle made a pair of changes at the half with Reghan Tumilty and Wes McDonald coming on for Brody Paterson and Mohammed Syllah.
A quiet opening to the second half was punctured by a thunderous effort from outside of the area from Shelton that Jameson did wonderfully well to turn round for a corner.
On the hour mark Town were inches from extending their lead further. Muldoon’s low cross was driven across the six-yard box but after evading Luke Armstrong it was met by Rory McArdle but his effort fell narrowly wide.
Five minutes later Muldoon could have killed the game off but volleyed wide when well positioned.
Simon Weaver then made his first change of the afternoon when the returning George Thomson replaced Grant. It was Thomson’s first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury in the away defeat at Barrow.
With 15 minutes there was a last throw of the dice from the visitors when Joe Grey was introduced in place of Robinson.
Armstrong then went on a solo run the length of the opposition half that resulted in a low strike that Killip did well to smother.
It was a composed and professional display in the second-half, but Umerah’s strike on 85 minutes caused sparked a nervy finale but Town held firm to take a vital three points.
The result saw Town move on to 11 points, two clear of Hartlepool, and upto 19th in the table ahead of he rest of the weekends fixtures.
TOWN: Jameson, Ramsay, McArdle, Mattock, Headley, Falkingham (Dooley, 88), Burrell, Pattison (Daly, 88), Grant (Thomson, 67), Armstrong, Muldoon.
Substitutes: Oxley, Ferguson, Austerfield, Coley.
Goals: Pattison (26), Muldoon (44)
Hartlepool United: Killip, Sterry, Lacey, Murray, Ferguson, Paterson (MacDonald, 45), Sylla (Tumilty, 45), Shelton, Crawford, Umerah, Robinson (Grey, 70).
Subs: Letheren, Cooke, Oduor, Ndjoli.
Goal: Umerah (85).
Referee: Andrew Kitchen