MICK Wadsworth believes his decision to sacrifice Ritchie Humphreys at half-time was justified as Hartlepool United emerged with a 2-1 victory at Carlisle United.
Humphreys, making his 600th career appearance, was replaced by skipper Sam Collins during the break at Brunton Park with Pools two goals to the good.
But the visitors had rode their luck during that opening period and had looked vulnerable to all manner of airborne entries into their penalty area.
That, coupled with the fact Cumbrians full-back James Tavernier, on loan from Newcastle United, was running Pools ragged down the right flank, meant Wadsworth had to act.
Left-back Humphreys was withdrawn with Stephen Wright filling that void and Collins slotting in at centre-back.
And it was a ploy which worked as Wadsworth’s men dealt with the open-play threat of the hosts and saw out a nervy final 15 minutes after Rory Loy had converted a 74th-minute penalty.
Wadsworth reflected: “It was a difficult decision to sacrifice Ritchie at half-time.
“But we needed Sam on because we knew we would get an aerial bombardment.
“They do cross the ball very well and very often and we’d rode our luck at times in the first half.
“Micky (Barron) and myself discussed it and sadly Ritchie paid the price.
“That wasn’t through poor play, just a tactical situation.
“Ritchie being the guy that he is he fully understood.
“He was doing okay but that side was a bit tough for him and we knew that would be before the game, with Tavernier driving on from deep.
“But in the second half we dealt with their threat from crosses eventually and, but for the penalty, it would have been more comfortable.
“But once that penalty went in we knew we had to dig in and we did and I get a lot of pleasure out of that victory.”
FULL story in Monday’s Mail ...