Mick Wadsworth explains substitution of James Poole

James Poole controls the ball on the edge of the Stevenage penalty area. Picture by FRANK REID

James Poole controls the ball on the edge of the Stevenage penalty area. Picture by FRANK REID

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MICK Wadsworth insists that the decision to withdraw substitute James Poole was purely tactical during Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Stevenage, writes Craig Hope.

The 21-year-old was brought on in the 64th minute with Pools leading by two.

But after losing possession at the outset of the move which led to a late Stevenage corner and subsequent equaliser, Poole was replaced by Steve Haslam.

The forward was visibly vexed at his removal but Wadsworth told SportMail the move was no reflection on the player’s contribution.

“James didn’t come off because I was angry with him, it was because they were launching balls into our box and Stevie Haslam could go in there to defend them,” said the first-team coach.

“We got to the point where we weren’t going to win it and they were pushing us back so we had to keep what we had.

“It wasn’t a punishment for him – it was utterly, purely tactically because the game had gone from us.”

Poole had earlier been smashed to the floor in an off-the-ball incident involving Scott Laird, the man who would go on to head the 88th-minute equaliser.

And Wadsworth said: “James got flat-armed off the ball, no doubt, but the linesman didn’t see it.

“The guy who did it then gets the equaliser, but there you go.”

SEE Monday’s Mail for full story.