Hartlepool Utd’s Oliver takes to League Two

Connor Oliver in action against Plymouth. Picture by FRANK REID
Connor Oliver in action against Plymouth. Picture by FRANK REID

CONNOR Oliver has taken to League Two football like the proverbial duck to water.

As full debuts go, they don’t get much better than Oliver’s excellent 90 minutes at Plymouth Argyle.

Whether he was sitting in front of his back four or striding forward in the opposition half, the 20-year-old had quality written all over him.

It meant Simon Walton was not missed in the centre by Pools – the former Plymouth midfielder missing out on a return to his former club.

“The gaffer hinted I might be playing but you can’t take anything for granted,” said the on-loan Sunderland product.

“I’d thought the week before, when there were two games over Easter, I might have got in but that wasn’t the case.

“But Simon getting sent off gave me the chance to come in and play.

“Centre-mid is my preferred position, but I feel comfortable anywhere across the midfield.

“This was a lot different to the Development League, this means a lot more.

“Of course you do try to win the Under 21 games and try to get as high up that table as you can.

“But obviously here in Leaue Two, you are playing in front of a lot more people and you want to send them home happy.”

Pools may not have won, but they certainly sent the supporters home pleased on their 760-mile round trip to Devon.

Oliver admitted the players were slightly frustrated not to have made it back-to-back wins after their East Monday heroics when they secured their Football League status.

“We were disappointed not to take all three points,” said the young Geordie.

“Even when we went behind in the first half, I thought we were the better side.

“In the second half we came on strong and probably should have taken all three points.

“It took a lot of the pressure off knowing that we were safe and we could have won.

“The fans were great - you couldn’t have asked any more of them, coming all this way to support us.

“And the Thunderbirds were brilliant.”

Celebrating with the travelling army of fans was a special moment as was the round of applause he received in the changing room from the Pools squad.

Oliver admitted it was a mixture of embarrassment and pride, but his first 90 minutes were nerveless.

“I had no nerves,” he said.

“You do feel a few butterflies but as soon as the whiste goes you forget about the crowd and everything that’s at stake and just go out and play football.”

He certainly did that.