Graeme Lee credits Antony Sweeney for tactical analysis which led to Hartlepool United's winner over Lincoln City in the FA Cup

Graeme Lee has credited Antony Sweeney for Hartlepool United’s winning goal in their FA Cup second round tie at Lincoln City.

By Joe Ramage
Sunday, 5th December 2021, 4:30 pm

Pools took the lead at Sincil Bank courtesy of a freekick straight from the training ground as Nicky Featherstone’s deep ball into the box was met by midfielder Mark Shelton who had peeled off around the back of the defenders and was able to fire back across goal where Imps midfielder Lewis Fiorini could only steer into his own net.

And Pools boss Lee praised Sweeney’s influence for the set piece having analysed Lincoln ahead of Saturday’s game.

“It’s a credit to Tony Sweeney,” said Lee.

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Graeme Lee gave credit to Antony Sweeney in Hartlepool United's win over Lincoln City (Credit: Mark Fletcher)

“He said he’d watched their set plays and that they were quite narrow and we might get one around the back.

“So we were shouting at Shelts to spin and he did and fortunately the ball went to him and we were able to get the goal from it so it was fantastic.”

It turned out to be the only goal of the game but Pools can perhaps count themselves unfortunate not to have added to their tally with a number of chances throughout the game.

Matty Daly spurned a golden opportunity in the opening exchanges when Reagan Ogle picked him out unmarked on the penalty spot but the on-loan Huddersfield Town midfielder skewed his strike wide.

Hartlepool United moved into the third round of the FA Cup with victory over Lincoln City. (Credit: Mark Fletcher)

Luke Molyneux was sent through by Featherstone’s clever pass only to be denied by goalkeeper Sam Long before Mark Cullen wasted an opening from inside the area with his strike lacking the power to trouble Long despite having opened his body up well to create the angle.

Cullen had another opportunity in the second half when he was sent racing clear down the left, this time forcing Long into a good stop as Pools more than matched their League One counterparts.

“I’ve watched two top, top performances,” said Lee.

“The hardest thing for any manager is to get the best out of players in terms of work rate and hard graft and I’ve seen a mixture of 20 odd lads show that, not just in training but in these two games as well. So if you’ve got that as a base then you’re onto a good start.

“We did a bit of shape and we looked at Lincoln to see how we could hurt them.

“We knew they’re a footballing team and what they offered but we also knew if we got things right we were going to cause them problems.

“They had to be aggressive with it and they had to be on the front foot at times. We had to be disciplined with it and they were throughout.

“They didn’t really break us down a hell of a lot. We had the majority of the chances in the first half, we could have been two up. Culls had a chance in the second half so in general I don’t think there can be complaints.

“We’ve got quality. We’ve got people who want to get hold of the ball and move it quickly, and people who hold the ball up, then lads at the back who press the pitch so when we do lose it we win it back quickly.

“The performance, and everything about it, was a massive tick.”

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