Three at the back return worked - Craig Hignett

Billy Paynter.

Billy Paynter.

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Craig Hignett believes returning to three at the back worked a treat for Hartlepool United.

With Matthew Bates absent from the starting XI with a back problem the gaffer switched his usual four at the back for a return to three in the 3-2 win over Morecambe earlier this evening, with Toto Nsiala coming into the side.

And Hignett thinks it worked to a T.

The gaffer said: "We changed the way we played and it worked.

"We didn’t play or be as pleasing on the eye as it can be with 4-3-3. "Two up front and we went a bit longer and it worked and scored three and then stopped doing what we were doing.

"We knew set-pieces would be important and didn’t defend the second one well. Most important tonight was the result, we knew it could be scrappy."

Meanwhile, Hignett was disappointed by the way his players took their foot of the gas in the clash.

Pools were three goals up and cruising at half-time, thanks to strikes from Padraig Amond, Billy Paynter and Nicky Featherstone, but a poor second half saw the visitors claw back two goals.

Hignett said: "We want to push on and we didn’t and we sat off and tried to see it through without affecting it.

"Three up and you take your foot off the gas and it’s hard to get going again. They got a one at the end to make it closer.

"But to get to three up it was good stuff. We wanted a quick start and got it."

Reflecting back on the goals, he said: "The first was really good.

"We had a bit of luck with the penalty and a really good team goal for the third.

"It was pleasing to see."