Pools League One fate rests in hands of Oldham Athletic

Neil Austin celebrates scoring the only goal of the game against Tranmere Rovers. Picture by FRANK REID

Neil Austin celebrates scoring the only goal of the game against Tranmere Rovers. Picture by FRANK REID

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JOHN Hughes will again be hoping for favours from elsewhere this week knowing that Hartlepool United could be relegated by the time they take on Brentford on Saturday.

Despite their 1-0 win at Tranmere Rovers, Pools will be demoted to the bottom tier should Oldham Athletic – 1-0 victors at Bury on Saturday – take maximum points at home to Yeovil Town tomorrow night.

And should The Latics fail at that task, they could yet seal Pools’ fate on Saturday afternoon when they entertain Crawley Town, meaning Hughes’ men would enter in to their televised clash with The Bees at 5.20pm knowing they are headed for League Two.

“We could find out our fate on tomorrow night,” said the Scot, “So all we can do is hope.

“I just feel for them because we’ve probably not done enough and might come up just short.

“But we won’t be giving up.

“We want to finish the season on a high and keep winning matches.

“We have put pride back into the club.

“At Christmas time certain people had written us off, then again at Easter.

“We’ve hung in there and the effort and commitment has been different class.”

Victory at Prenton Park was achieved thanks to Neil Austin’s first-half goal, the full-back following in to turn home the rebound from Simon Walton’s missed penalty.

But Pools had Scott Flinders to thank for preserving their three points, the goalkeeper saving spectacularly from an Andy Robinson penalty on 57 minutes.

“It was a must-win cup final for us and the boys certainly came up with the goods,” reflected Hughes.

“I had 11 heroes in terms of their effort and commitment.

“It was a real, rearguard action.

“We had something to hang onto and we certainly did that.

“I’m honest to say we gave them a lot of territory in the second half and they were the better team.

“But I’ve always said there are plenty of ways to win a football match and I’m delighted for them.”