Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor pleased to have Dover Athletic situation resolved as gap opens up between play-off rivals Stockport County and Torquay United

Hartlepool United strengthened their position in the National League play-off places despite dropping points at Stockport County over the weekend.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 6:00 am

The National League finally acted on Dover Athletic’s stance to end their 2020-21 season early and expunged the club’s results for the campaign.

As a result, several of Pools’ play-off rivals including Torquay United, Stockport and Wrexham found themselves three points worse off.

A National League statement read: “An Independent Panel has ruled that Dover Athletic are deemed guilty of four breaches of Rule 8.39 for failing to meet fixture obligations between February 16th and February 27th.

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Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor during the Vanarama National League match between Dover Athletic and Hartlepool United at the Crabble Athletic Ground, Dover on Saturday 11th January 2020. (Credit: Matt Bristow | MI News)
Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor during the Vanarama National League match between Dover Athletic and Hartlepool United at the Crabble Athletic Ground, Dover on Saturday 11th January 2020. (Credit: Matt Bristow | MI News)

“The Club will play no further part in the 2020/21 Playing Season, with the Club’s existing National League (Step One) results expunged. A 12-point deduction for the 2021/22 Playing Season and fine of £40,000 have additionally been issued.”

Dover chairman Jim Parmenter has confirmed the club are taking legal advice and will look to appeal the fine and points deduction.

It also confirms that Hartlepool will be without a match on the final weekend of the National League season as it stands as they were set to host Dover at Victoria Park.

Unless Pools are able to rearrange their home match against Weymouth, their final game of the regular season will be away to leaders Sutton United on May 22.

But manager Dave Challinor was pleased to have some clarity on the situation as Hartlepool moved six points clear of Torquay and nine of Stockport as a result.

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“It’s nice to have the situation resolved and it gives us a decent cushion now,” he told The Mail.

"It was the only way it could have ended to expunge all of Dover’s results and I’m not speaking out of turn to say every club was thinking that.

"It doesn’t impact us or Sutton negatively because we haven’t played them. It affects a few clubs where they get a win taken off them but they then have an extra game if you like.

"It impacts some clubs positively where they beat Notts County, Eastleigh and drew with Boreham Wood so they will all benefit from that being taken off.”

Pools drew 1-1 at fourth placed Stockport on Saturday afternoon, keeping the gap between the sides at nine points but The Hatters now have three games in hand.

“It would have been nice to have made it 12 points with a win,” Challinor continued.

“Stockport probably needed to beat us, maybe not more than we needed to beat them, but they knew that if they won then they could overtake us with the games in hand they have.

"From our perspective, we wanted to put it into a situation where they couldn’t catch us but that wasn’t the case.

"If we were asked at the start of the season if we’d take four points off Stockport then I absolutely would have taken it.

"I’m a little bit disappointed but it’s a tough place to come against a squad who have been tipped and backed to get out of this division.”

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