Hartlepool United boss Kevin Phillips praises 'awesome' striker Emmanuel Dieseruvwe ahead of National League clash at Bromley

New Hartlepool United boss Kevin Phillips praised “awesome” Emmanuel Dieseruvwe after the forward capped his first game of 2024 with a decisive double against York City.
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Dieseruvwe, who suffered a knee injury against Wealdstone just before Christmas, netted in the 73rd and 87th minutes as Pools moved up to 12th in the National League table.

Speaking after his first game in charge, Phillips – no mean striker himself after 282 career goals – hinted that the club’s top scorer was not expected to still be on the pitch at that stage.

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The head coach said: “I am delighted for Mani. I know what it is like when a new manager comes in and you are top goalscorer.

New Hartlepool United manager Kevin Phillips has praised top scorer Emmanuel Dieseruvwe after his two-goal return against York City.New Hartlepool United manager Kevin Phillips has praised top scorer Emmanuel Dieseruvwe after his two-goal return against York City.
New Hartlepool United manager Kevin Phillips has praised top scorer Emmanuel Dieseruvwe after his two-goal return against York City.

"You are desperate to get out there and we only expected him to play 60 minutes.

"But he has had to dig in and he has got his rewards.

"I have just said to him you should have got your hat-trick but he was just awesome and everyone out there was brilliant.”

Twenty-eight-year-old Dieseruvwe was in the right place at the right time to poach his opener from close range after York keeper George Sykes-Kenworthy spilled an inviting cross from lively substitute Courtney Senior. He then earned and converted a penalty to double Hartlepool’s advantage after a clumsy foul on the edge of the box.

Emmanuel Dieseruvwe scored twice in Hartlepool United's victory over York City on Saturday.Emmanuel Dieseruvwe scored twice in Hartlepool United's victory over York City on Saturday.
Emmanuel Dieseruvwe scored twice in Hartlepool United's victory over York City on Saturday.
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While Pools have tightened up defensively in recent weeks, they were denied a welcome clean sheet after Dipo Akinyemi’s bobbled effort squirmed past Joel Dixon in added time.

Speaking to BBC Tees, Phillips praised Dixon for a vital save from Billy Chadwick’s low effort in the first half while the game was still scoreless.

He also lauded Senior – one of three Saturday debutants alongside centre-half Luke Waterfall and midfielder Otis Khan – for his contribution after his 69th minute introduction.

The Barnet loanee’s pace worried York as an end-to-end encounter became stretched in the later stages.

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Ahead of two National League fixtures on Tuesday night, Pools are still seven points from both the final play-off spot and the relegation zone after winning three out of five successive games against sides below them in the table.

A potentially tougher round of February fixtures begins with a trip to Kent on Saturday, to face second-top Bromley in a 3pm kick-off.