HARTLEPOOL United responded to their weekend humiliation at Wycombe Wanderers with a gritty 2-1 win at Bury.
Neale Cooper’s men were stuffed 5-0 at the league’s bottom club on Saturday and the Scot had demanded a response from his players.
And the Pools chief would have been cheered by a resolute victory, achieved thanks to a goal in each half from Ritchie Humphreys and substitute Adam Boyd.
Pools were first on the attack and Antony Sweeney came within inches of a 2nd-minute breakthrough when his looping header, from Neil Austin’s floated centre, bounced wide of Trevor Carson’s goal with the on-loan Sunderland goalkeeper scrambling to make it.
Sweeney was causing the hosts all manner of problems and from another of his surging runs he found himself in on goal only to loose track of the ball and the chance was gone.
Andy Monkhouse was next to have a go but his speculative 25-yard effort was always curling wide.
But the best chance of the first half arrived on 30 minutes when Peter Hartley, up from the back to connect with Austin’s corner-kick, saw his downward header smuggled from the bottom corner by Carson.
And the Shakers netminder was again called into action four minutes later when he was forced to flap an Andy Monkhouse curler over the crossbar after the forward had worked space to dispatch on target from 25 yards.
It took until the 41st minute for Bury to register an effort on goal but Scott Flinders was equal to David Worrall’s 20-yard volley.
But it was Pools who seized the lead right on the stroke of half-time when Humphreys stormed onto Austin’s in-swinging centre to glance a 12-yard header into the bottom corner.
It was just reward for an encouraging first half in which the visitors had been the better of the two sides.
Bury were much improved during the opening exchanges of the second period but it was Sweeney, with another dropping header, who came close to doubling Pools’ lead when his 12-yard nod floated inches wide.
Richard Barker’s men pursued parity with some gusto as the game moved past the hour mark and Steven Schumacher blasted through the face of goal from a free-kick before Worrall tested Flinders with an awkward 25-yard drive.
But home hearts were sunk when Boyd, on since the hour mark, stole onto a loose ball inside the area before swivelling and hooking into the back of the net from six yards on 75 minutes.
Bury were given fresh hope, however, just five minutes later when the impressive Worrall beat the offside trap to latch onto Joe Skarz’s forward clip and lift gently over the stranded Flinders.
Five minutes of stoppage time saw the home side camped in opposition territory but Pools held firm to claim a morale-boosting three points.