Hartlepool United manager Kevin Phillips delighted with his side's defending as Pools keep second successive home clean sheet in win over Halifax Town

Hartlepool United manager Kevin Phillips was delighted with his side's defending after Pools reverted back to a back four and kept a clean sheet in their win over Halifax on Friday.
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In general, Pools have been much-improved at the back since Phillips took charge and, either side of shipping seven at Gateshead, have kept successive home clean sheets.

Following the ill-fated experiment with a 3-5-2 in midweek, the Pools boss went back to his tried and trusted 4-2-3-1 and his side once again looked solid.

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Pete Jameson has made a positive difference in goal since his return to the side against Southend, while ahead of him Tom Parkes and Luke Waterfall have formed a formidable partnership at the heart of the defence.

Pools limited Halifax to a handful of half chances on Good Friday.Pools limited Halifax to a handful of half chances on Good Friday.
Pools limited Halifax to a handful of half chances on Good Friday.

Although left-back David Ferguson has been criticised for some of his performances this season, he is a generally reliable and consistent presence at full-back while on the opposite flank teenager Louis Stephenson put in a man-of-the-match performance.

It was a dramatic defensive turnaround as a Pools side that looked all at sea in midweek appeared almost impassable on Friday, with Halifax limited to a handful of half chances and in-form frontman Rob Harker struggling to make any kind of impression on the contest.

And Phillips felt that was down to the decision to return to a back four, with Pools not having conceded from open play in the last three games in which they've lined up with a 4-2-3-1 formation.

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"The stats show, and results show, that we're better with a back four," he said.

"They (Parkes and Waterfall) have always looked really solid.

"They're both experienced, they're leaders, and they're strong, powerful defenders.

"I thought Fergie (Ferguson) again, was very solid. For me, he's a seven or eight out of 10 every time.

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"It's just about securing that right-back position and Louis has come in and been fantastic.

"The challenge now is to see if they can go again on Monday. It'll be a different kind of challenge, but they're more than capable of dealing with it."

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