Hartlepool United 4-3 Dorking Wanderers: Mani Dieseruvwe bags a brace as Poolie Blues Brothers celebrate after their side edge seven-goal thriller

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A brace from Mani Dieseruvwe, Joe Grey’s 13th goal of the season and an own goal helped Hartlepool United end the season on a high as Pools rewarded more than 700 travelling fans with a thrilling 4-3 win over relegated Dorking Wanderers.

With nothing on the line for either side – Pools were safely ensconced in mid-table and Dorking were already relegated – both teams took the handbrake off and adopted a gung-ho approach in a clash that was lacking in structure but packed full of entertainment.

Although the visitors’ defending left a lot to be desired, Pools were at their free-flowing attacking best and put on a show for the more than 700 supporters who made the long trip to Surrey, most of whom were dressed as the Blues Brothers as part of their annual fancy dress tradition to mark the final away day of the season.

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The opening quarter of an hour set the tone for an afternoon that was chaotic, frenetic and pulsating as Pools recovered from going a goal down after Charlie Carter’s seventh minute strike to take the lead following a spectacular effort from Mani Dieseruvwe and an unfortunate own goal by Dorking skipper Barry Fuller, with the visitors going from a goal down to one in front in just two minutes.

Pools edged a seven-goal thriller at Dorking to end the season on a high.Pools edged a seven-goal thriller at Dorking to end the season on a high.
Pools edged a seven-goal thriller at Dorking to end the season on a high.

There had been plenty of drama even before that, with Alfie Rutherford almost fashioning a chance inside 60 seconds when he closed down Tom Parkes’ attempted clearance while Dorking goalkeeper Harrison Male, who picked up the majority of the end-of-season awards after the game, tipped Callum Cooke’s effort onto the crossbar.

The rest of the game was similarly end-to-end, with Pools extending their lead just before the break thanks to another superb strike from Dieseruvwe, who finished the season with a career best 25 goals in all competitions.

The home side responded well after half time, no doubt spurred on by some strong words from the typically outspoken and opinionated Marc White, who is not only the club’s manager and co-owner but also its founder and a former player, and pulled one back when the impressive Jimmy Muitt glided through the Pools’ defence before firing a left-footed shot off the inside of the far post and in.

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The frustration for the visitors was that it came just after a warning shot from substitute Bobby Joe Taylor, who not long after was substituted himself before being given a public tongue-lashing by his boss for his role in Pools’ fourth goal, clipped the crossbar with a deep cross.

Kevin Phillips’ side were well below their best defensively and allowed Muitt to breach their back line far too easily; while it was a goal of undeniable individual brilliance, it was certainly one Pools could, and probably should, have avoided.

Pools restored their two-goal cushion in the 59th minute thanks to an emphatic strike from Joe Grey, but the hosts once again found a response and closed the gap when Muitt added his second of the afternoon after some nice combination play on the edge of the visitors’ box with 13 minutes of normal time remaining.

Pools had to do a lot of defending in the dying stages to make sure they returned to the North East with three points, reaching Kevin Phillips’ target of 60 in the process, and had the woodwork and some more goalkeeping heroics from Pete Jameson, who could have been playing his final game for the club, to thank.

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Jameson, who turns 31 on Sunday and has featured 20 times during a season long loan from League Two Harrogate, thwarted both Charlie Carter and Alfie Rutherford with superb stops, while Rutherford hit the bar with a header in the third minute of added time.

In the end Pools did enough to hold on, and Grey was unfortunate not to add another when he was denied by an impressive stop from former Leeds goalkeeper Harrison Male, and while it might not have been comfortable, or totally convincing, it was a positive end to a turbulent campaign and a fitting reward for the supporters who made the long trip in such impressive numbers.

Pools: Jameson, Ferguson, Parkes, Waterfall, Stephenson, Featherstone (capt), Crawford, Cooke (sub, Steel, 86), Agyemang, Grey, Dieseruvwe.

Dorking: Male, Fuller (capt), Craig, Kennedy, Kuhl, Muitt, Moore (Pybus, 72), Taylor, Bowerman (sub, Joe Taylor, 26; sub, Blair,60), Carter, Rutherford.

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