Antony Sweeney: Hartlepool United ‘have set the standard’ with FA Cup win at Wycombe Wanderers

Interim manager Antony Sweeney was ‘proud as punch’ of the Hartlepool United players following the 1-0 win at Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday night.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 6:00 am

Mark Cullen’s 19th-minute strike proved to be the difference at Adams Park as Pools secured their place in the second round of the FA Cup at Lincoln City next month.

For Sweeney, it was his fifth win and fifth clean sheet over two spells in caretaker charge.

And this was probably the most satisfying so far.

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Antony Sweeney, Interim Manager of Hartlepool United looks on prior to the Emirates FA Cup First Round Replay match between Wycombe Wanderers and Hartlepool United at Adams Park on November 16, 2021 in High Wycombe, England. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

"Massively so,” Sweeney told The Mail. “If you said we’d keep a clean sheet away from home, regardless of them being in a higher league, against a team that would load it up and be as strong and powerful as they are.

"I don’t think many people would back us to keep a clean sheet in that type of game.

"Maybe if it was more of a footballing game where we could play to our strengths so this is a massive achievement which we can take so many positives from.

"If we can stand up to that, then I don’t see anything in League Two that will be as tough to play against as Wycombe were.

"That’s the yardstick for the players now, they have set the standard but I’m not naive, we may sometimes fall below those standards, that’s lower-league football but more often than not, we’ll reference this game because it will be a good reference point to show what we’re capable of.”

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It was also an ideal response from Friday’s late defeat at home to Newport County as Pools now look to take their cup momentum into the league.

“I enjoyed Tuesday night a lot more than I enjoyed Friday night and I’ll enjoy Wednesday a lot more than Saturday,” Sweeney added.

"It’s relief more than anything and I just want the football club to do well. I live in the town so sometimes you can get affected by everyone wanting to know about the football club.

"I’ve got a lot of friends and family who are all supporters. Whether rightly or wrongly, when it goes wrong you feel like you’re letting people down but thankfully it went right for us at Wycombe and I’m proud as punch of the players.”

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