Hartlepool United 3-1 Barrow: The key talking points as Graeme Lee's side find the winning formula

Hartlepool United ended their seven game winless run as they came from behind to defeat Barrow at the Suit Direct Stadium.

By Joe Ramage
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 3:00 pm

Graeme Lee’s side put in a really efficient display throughout the 90-minutes to cap what has been a pleasing couple of days for Pools following their FA Cup story with Crystal Palace.

Luke Molyneux scored twice to cancel out John Rooney’s wonder goal before Omar Bogle opened his Pools account to seal the win for Lee’s side.

And here are some of the key talking points from an important win for Pools.

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Hartlepool United earned a big win over Barrow at the Suit Direct Stadium. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Setting the scene

Spirits were high in the Pools camp heading into the game.

Both on and off the field, there was a feel good factor to the last seven days, irrespective of their defeat at Crystal Palace.

But Lee’s side had to park any emotions of the last few days and concentrate on the bread and butter that is League Two.

Luke Molyneux scored a stunning double to give Hartlepool United the lead against Barrow. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

And there was a little bit of added pressure to the game given Pools’ indifferent form in recent months.

While performances have been good in the cups, the league has thrown up a mixture of disappointments and misfortune of late.

But with Pools just nine points above the relegation zone heading into the evening there was a growing need to get back to winning ways.

Team news

Newcastle United midfielder Joe White impressed on his full debut for Hartlepool United. (Credit: Michael Driver | MI News)

It feels like it has been a long time coming, in the league at least, but finally Lee made the call to switch to a back four from the off after a string of encouraging signs using that system in cup competitions.

Pools enjoyed a bright finish to the game at Selhurst Park on Saturday with Joe Grey and Joe White both making an impact from the bench in the final 30 minutes.

And both were rewarded with starting shirts as Gary Liddle and Mark Shelton dropped to the bench.

Grey formed part of an intriguing looking front three alongside Molyneux and Bogle, who made his home debut.

White completed a midfield three alongside Tom Crawford and Bryn Morris who impressed on his debut at the weekend.

With Liddle missing out, Neill Byrne took the captains armband as he paired Timi Odusina in the heart of defence.

4-3-3

There has been a clamour from supporters for Lee to tweak his system in the league and opt for a more assertive approach and the Pools boss obliged here.

And straight from the off there was an intensity to Pools as they pressed forward with pace causing Barrow problems.

Grey came close as he hit the bar but alongside Molyneux and Bogle, Barrow were struggling to deal with the variety of threats Pools were offering.

The system was encouraging against both Bolton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic in the EFL Trophy and it was again here as throughout the 90-minutes there was dynamism to their play.

With Bogle as the focal point, and Molyneux cutting in from his favoured right position along with Grey’s tireless efforts, Pools have all the ingredients for a successful attack within their squad.

A wonder strike

And yet it was Barrow who took the lead, doing so in some style.

Byrne’s advancing run saw a loose ball cleared into the path of Rooney, just inside the Pools half, and the 31-year-old took aim and sent an incredible effort over Ben Killip into the top corner.

Killip may have been some way off his line, but the audacity to even attempt what Rooney did deserves acknowledgement.

It was a strike which did not deserve to be on the losing side, not that Pools will mind.

Molyneux at the double

To their credit Pools never let their heads drop after falling behind.

Lee admitted there was a ‘wobble’ after the goal in which Pools needed Killip to bail them out with an excellent stop to deny Aaron Amadi-Holloway.

Should that have found the back of the net then the evening might have had a different story.

But as it is, it was Molyneux who took centre stage with two fabulous strikes.

The first, picked out by a clever pass from White, saw Molyneux take a couple touches to set himself away from the defender before firing low into the goalkeepers near corner from the edge of the area.

Perhaps Paul Farnam thought Molyneux would opt for the far corner as he did against Charlton in the EFL Trophy.

And maybe because he didn’t go for his trademark whip into the far corner, it left Farnam with a huge dilemma 12 minutes later as Molyneux skipped inside from the right wing with a clear space to shoot.

This time Molyneux did go for the far corner and he found it with stunning perfection to give Pools the lead.

But it wasn’t just the goals from Molyneux in his man of the match display as the 23-year-old gave the Barrow defence a torrid time all night.

Bogle off the mark

As Molyneux was hitting the top of Pools’ goalscoring charts, new signing Bogle was getting off the mark.

There is a lot of hope and expectation on the signing of Bogle working out for Pools, so for him to get on the scoresheet in just his third game is a huge boost.

And it too was a smart finish as he rolled the ball into the far corner from inside the penalty area between the defenders legs.

Bogle enjoyed a pleasing night as he led from the front, providing the perfect synergy with Grey and Molyneux.

Big three points

Any win to end their current slump in League Two was going to be big for Pools.

But given results elsewhere, with bottom two Oldham Athletic and Scunthorpe United both picking up three points, it was an even more significant result for Pools.

It maintains that nine point cushion above the drop zone and brings a renewed belief to the squad heading into Saturday’s trip to Crawley Town.

Hartlepool United XI: Killip, Sterry, Byrne ©, Odusina, Ferguson, Morris, Crawford, White (Shelton ‘82), Grey, Molyneux, Bogle (Cullen ‘79)

Subs: Bilokapic, Liddle, Ogle, Holohan, Fletcher

Barrow XI: Farman, Brown, Brough, Taylor (Gotts ‘45), Glennon, Wakeling (James ‘70), Hutton, Amadi-Holloway (Williams ‘70), Canavan, Banks ©, Rooney

Subs: White, Jones, Harris

Yellow cards - Brough (3), Brown (30), Taylor (42), Byrne (50)

Referee: Peter Wright

Attendance: 4,621 (204 Barrow)

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