Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor reveals Antony Sweeney's well-timed message during 2-0 win over Stockport County

As Dave Challinor knows, 2-0 is anything but a safe scoreline if you’re the Hartlepool United manager.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 27th January 2020, 11:06 am

But in Saturday’s match over Stockport County, a safe scoreline is exactly what it was as goals from Aidan Keena and Mark Shelton saw the side claim a much needed three points with a 2-0 win at Victoria Park.

The victory takes United to within three points of the final play-off place with 14 games remaining of the National League season.

While Pools were comfortable for the majority of the afternoon against The Hatters, Challinor wasn’t quite as calm as his side looked on the pitch.

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Dave Challinor and Antony Sweeney. (Credit: Leila Coker | MI News)

Fortunately, club legend and first-team coach Antony Sweeney was there on the sidelines to keep him right.

“I’m loving it, I love it and I hate it,” Challinor said when discussing his experience as Hartlepool manager.

“Sometimes I hate Saturday afternoons! I said to Sweens with half an hour to go at 2-0, ‘how long before you think we’re all right?’

“In normal circumstances, being 2-0 up you’ll be like ‘this is great isn’t it?’ But with the way things have gone and turned, you’re thinking ‘oh no’.

“In fairness to Sweens, with 45 seconds to go in stoppage time, he turned to me and said ‘I think we’ve cracked it!’

“That’s what football can do to you, especially sitting on the sidelines just thinking ‘ah come on lads,’ you know what I mean?

“It’s just about getting over those hurdles because there are going to be psychological scars because we’ve been there before leading games and there’ll be a tendency to think you can see the game out but what we asked of them was to be positive and getting the second half.

“As much as I’m a manager and want to be involved in the game tactically and with substitutions that are playing, you’re ultimately desperate to win and there’s nothing better than winning. It doesn’t get much better in terms of what the players did out there.

“I’m sure even grumpy me will allow myself to smile a little bit and congratulate them.”