Hartlepool United 1-0 Everton under-21s: Four key talking points as Antony Sweeney takes charge as Dave Challinor is appointed Stockport County manager

Hartlepool United secured their place in the last-32 of the Papa John’s Trophy with a 1-0 win against Everton under-21s at Victoria Park on Tuesday night.

By Dominic Scurr
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 11:24 am

Trophy darling Matty Daly grabbed his fourth goal of the competition just moments after coming off the bench to secure three points for Pools in Group A and guarantee a top two finish.

It was Antony Sweeney’s first match in caretaker charge after it was confirmed Dave Challinor had stated his intentions to leave the club following an approach made by non-league side Stockport County.

Here are four key talking points from the match…

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Hartlepool United's Matty Daly celebrates with Reagan Ogle after scoring their first goal during the EFL Trophy match between Hartlepool United and Everton at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 2nd November 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Eight changes

After Saturday’s embarrassing 5-0 defeat at Leyton Orient, Sweeney made eight changes to the side for the Trophy match.

But the Pools caretaker modestly refused to take credit for the team and tactics as he admitted they were decided as a coaching team while Challinor was still at the club.

Jonathan Mitchell, Zaine Francis-Angol and Reagan Ogle were the only survivors from the Halloween horror show at Brisbane Road as Eddy Jones, Neill Byrne, Timi Odusina, Mark Shelton, Tom Crawford, Martin Smith, Joe Grey and Will Goodwin came into the side.

Hartlepool United assistant manager Clint Hill and caretaker manager Tony Sweeney (l) during the EFL Trophy match between Hartlepool United and Everton at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 2nd November 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Initially Pools played with a 3-5-2 system but appeared to alter to a 4-4-2 diamond on occasion.

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Momentum keeps building in the stands

Pools may be managerless playing in a tertiary cup competition against an academy side on a cold Tuesday night in November but that didn’t stop supporters making their voices heard.

Hartlepool United's Reagan Ogle in action with Everton's Reece Welch during the EFL Trophy match between Hartlepool United and Everton at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 2nd November 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Almost 2,000 fans were in attendance at Victoria Park to show their support for the side.

‘We hate Stockport’ chants from a small section of the ground could be heard prior to kick-off in reference to Challinor’s imminent departure but they were very quickly drowned out by ‘Tony Sweeney’s blue and white army’ on repeat.

Managers come and go but the club and its fans remain, and that’s what matters.

A positive atmosphere was building as Pools got off to a decent start against their youthful counterparts. Possession remained fairly even but the hosts were on the front foot with Crawford and Goodwin both coming close early on.

Hartlepool United's Matty Daly scores their first goal during the EFL Trophy match between Hartlepool United and Everton at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 2nd November 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

It took Everton almost half an hour to register their first shot on goal as Rhys Hughes’ effort was claimed by Mitchell.

Half-time announcement

Overall, the first half was a reasonably uneventful affair. Pools had the better of it but had nothing to show for their efforts as the sides went in goalless.

Just before the half-time whistle, there was a big announcement off the field across the country as Stockport confirmed Dave Challinor as their new manager on a two-and-a-half year deal.

After taking months to agree a new deal at Pools earlier this season, Challinor had agreed terms at Stockport just over 24-hours after signalling his intention to leave Victoria Park.

And the former Hartlepool manager told the Stockport website: “It's been ridiculously difficult [to leave Hartlepool], once the interest came in [from Stockport] there was always going to be an attraction but the affinity I built up with the fan base there was amazing and that was the biggest tie that I had to get over.

“Taking emotion out of it, this move became a no-brainer.

“The chance to return to County and help make Club history was too good an opportunity to miss.

“The excitement surrounding the club and the investment that has been put into it, on and off the pitch, makes County an incredibly attractive proposition for any manager.”

The news was met with little more than a shrug inside the ground at Victoria Park. Challinor is history and Pools had a game to win.

Tactical changes

Sweeney’s first spell in charge was epitomised by astute tactical decisions and substitutions that ultimately led to the side picking up results and the first game of his second interim spell proved no different.

After the break, Pools started to show more intent with Ogle and Crawford both seeing chances go begging.

But it was Everton who came closest to opening the scoring as Stanley Mills broke through on goal and lobbed Mitchell only to be denied by the crossbar.

Straight at the other end, Goodwin had a shot well saved by Harry Tyrer and Grey’s follow-up on the rebound was cleared off the line.

The introduction of Luke Molyneux for Francis-Angol prompted a change of shape as Pools went more attacking in search of a breakthrough.

That almost came as Smith got into a good area only to blaze his effort wide.

Pools’ second change proved to be the decisive one as Matty Daly – who had already scored three goals in two matches in the competition so far – entered the fray with 20-minutes remaining.

And within a minute of coming off the bench, the Huddersfield Town loanee reacted quickly to bear down on goal, round the goalkeeper and slot the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0.

From that point on, Pools were able to see the game out fairly comfortably, but it wasn’t without a couple of late scares.

Mark Cullen’s introduction was a positive one that provided further attacking bite as Pools looked to extend their lead rather than simply hold on.

But Everton had a good chance to equalise in the closing stages as Mitchell reacted well to deny Hughes and confirm Pools’ first three points of the competition.

After two penalty shoot outs in their opening two games, it was enough to see them progress to the Northern Section of the second round draw with matches set to take place next month.

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