Nathan Thomas has magic but Hartlepool United have other match-winners

Every football manager wants goals '˜from elsewhere' and Lewis Alessandra has removed some burden from Hartlepool United's strikers with four goals in the last two games.

Thursday, 9th March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:08 am
Nathan Thomas on the attack. Picture by FRANK REID

Attacker-turned-midfielder Alessandra struck twice in the win over Crewe and repeated the trick in a stunning second-half Pools fightback in the 3-1 victory against Exeter City.

The 28-year-old’s brilliant contributions sandwiched vital goals from top scorer Padraig Amond and took some of the pressure off Nathan Thomas.

It would not be unfair to say that Pools have relied heavily on the breathtaking skills of the former Sunderland youngster.

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But Alessandra was the man to come off the left to devastating effect, twice, as Pools gained one of their best victories of the season to take them into Saturday’s important match at Notts County in great fettle.

“First half, they sat in with two banks of four and we found it hard to break down,” he said.

“Our out-ball in those circumstances would be Nath, trying to get him one v one.

“With his magic in those circumstances he’d beat a player like he’s not even there.

“Nath will admit he had a bit of an off-day, but that comes sometimes.

“He’s that good at this level – you can’t expect him to win you games every week.

“It was a great win for us, Exeter don’t concede many so to score three past a team like that is very pleasing.”

Pools are proving to be one of League Two’s form teams – Saturday’s great fightback extended their unbeaten Northern Gas & Power Stadium run under new boss Dave Jones to five matches.

However – there’s always a however, isn’t there? – the away results remain wretched, Pools have lost nine of their last 11 away trips, including all four under Jones.

”I think we needed that week we’ve just had,” said the eight-goal, Manchester-born talent.

“We’d been playing well and not winning, but we’re at the business end of the season when we need to be winning games so we are not looking over our shoulders.

“I know we have the ability in the changing room that will get us to where we should be [in the table].

“But we have to go out win the right to play first and that comes from scrapping and then when you do that hopefully the quality will come through.

“Our away form is something we need to address.

“These last two home games can help us change that – we’re a young side so confidence is a massive thing.

“Hopefully, those wins over Crewe and Exeter can give us the springboard and give us the belief to know we can go and play.

“It will help to make us know that we are a good team, no matter what the average age is, and we can start becoming a force away from home.”