Antony Sweeney reflects on first game in charge at Victoria Park as Hartlepool United secure their place in FA Cup first round with 1-0 win over Brackley Town

Antony Sweeney’s perfect start as Hartlepool United caretaker manager continued as he oversaw a 1-0 win over Brackley Town at Victoria Park.

Saturday, 19th October 2019, 7:09 pm
Updated Sunday, 20th October 2019, 4:42 pm
HARTLEPOOL, ENGLAND OCTOBER 19TH Hartlepool United caretaker manager Tony Sweeney during the FA Cup match between Hartlepool United and Brackley Town at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 19th October 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

The win confirms Pools’ place in Monday night’s FA Cup first round draw as well as back to back wins and clean sheets for the side since Sweeney took temporary charge.

Ryan Donaldson’s second half strike from distance ultimately proved to be decisive though Hartlepool did have to ride their luck once again.

“I’ve been happier but it’s job done to be in the hat for the next round,” Sweeney admitted.

“I wasn’t too happy with the performance, I thought Brackley were the better side over the course of the game but when things are like that you’ve just got to find a way to win thankfully over the last two games we’ve found a way somehow.

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“I wasn’t surprised by Brackley. They offered exactly what I thought they would offer. We knew they were a good side who would kick it long and put us under pressure.

“I was more surprised with how we played, particularly in the first half, there was a lack of intensity, a lack of zip about the game and we didn’t create enough chances or get in attacking areas enough.

“There were a couple of choice words said at half time and we improved slightly in the second half but still not to the level we want to be at.”

After playing around 200 matches at Victoria Park over his playing career, Sweeney got his first taste of managing at Pools’ home ground.

It was an experience the 36-year-old described as ‘different’ as he saw the side cling on for an important albeit unspectacular victory.

Sweeney added: “It was different, I probably did more miles than the players up and down the technical area!

“I was just trying to generate that intensity and try and create that a spark really.

“I’ve played here a lot and never thought I’d be in charge of a team here so it was a different experience but luckily we were on the right end of the result.”