IT’S official - Hartlepool United survive relegation from the Football League by a single point.
Well, almost official. With just eight games to go until the end of the season, Pools are currently just ONE point from safety following a run of three wins on the trot in Sky Bet League Two. We’ve tasked our Pools reporter Richard Mennear - aka ‘Mystic Men’ - with the job of predicting all the scores for the sides battling relegation. And Hartlepool supporters will be hoping his predictions pay off...
HOLD on to your hats, Pools are in for a rollercoaster ride in the battle against relegation.
I was tasked - against my will I hasten to add - to conjure up my finest mystic skills and predict all the results for the remaining fixtures of the five sides battling to stay up at the foot of Sky Bet League Two.
Just a fortnight ago Pools were eight points adrift and the situation looked bleak, to say the least, but three wins in a week has catapulted Pools to within a point of safety.
Now there is genuine hope the club will be able to climb out of trouble under manager Ronnie Moore.
Can they carry on their form in the final few weeks of the season?
Channelling the spirits from above, I believe they can.
But supporters should be ready for a few twists and turns before the season finale away to Carlisle United on May 2nd - nothing new there then!
As things stand, Pools and Cheltenham occupy the bottom two places but I have predicted Moore’s side to pick up 11 points from their remaining fixtures to finish third bottom and stay up with 47 points and a goal difference of -29.
Having predicted the remaining fixtures for Pools, Cheltenham, Tranmere Rovers, York City and Carlisle, it appears Cheltenham and Tranmere - who both have tricky run-ins - will occupy the bottom two come the final whistle at the end of the season.
So, Pools to stay up then yeah? Hopefully, but it will be far from plain sailing.
First up is the visit of Cambridge United to Victoria Park on Saturday. Pools have slashed ticket prices again and a bumper crowd is expected to cheer the hosts on to a 2-1 win (hopefully).
With other results going their way, victory would see Pools climb out of the drop-zone ahead of the crunch Easter weekend fixtures.
This is where it starts to get tricky for Moore’s side as I predict Pools will suffer back-to-back defeats, first away at Newport County (0-2) and then home to Southend United (0-1) leaving supporters fearing the worst.
Fear not, the highly-anticipated trip to York City in April - where Pools are expected to be backed by up to 2,000 fans - will kick start the push for survival.
Victory over Accrington Stanley three days later will boost morale ahead of another defeat to promotion-chasing Luton Town.
This is where it gets tense.
With two games of the season to go, Pools will need four points to stay up - talk about squeaky bum time.
But fear not, a dramatic 1-0 win over Exeter City sets Moore’s side up for the trip to rivals Carlisle United on the final day of the season.
Backed by another strong support, Pools secure the point needed to maintain their Football League status with 47 points, lower than the usual amount needed to survive.
Will it happen? Here’s hoping.
Mystic Men’s Hartlepool remaining results
Cambridge United (H) Win 2-1
Newport County (A) Lose 2-0
Southend United (H) Lose 1-0
York City (A) Draw 1-1
Accrington Stanley (H) Win 3-1
Luton Town (A) Lose 2-0
Exeter City (H) Win 1-0
Carlisle United (A) Draw 1-1
Mystic Men’s Final Sky Bet League Two Table
20th Carlisle United -16 48
21st York City -11 47
22nd POOLS -29 47
23rd Tranmere Rovers -14 46
24th Cheltenham -23 45