Match-winner Adam Jackson admits it was a “massive battle” to thwart AFC Wimbledon’s giants and register a precious victory for Hartlepool United.
Centre-half Jackson headed home his third goal in nine games in yesterday’s 1-0 success against the Dons, to realistically end Pools’ relegation worries and allow Craig Hignett’s men to look further up the table.
But the on-loan Middlesbrough man’s contribution at the other end of the pitch alongside central defensive partner Matthew Bates was just as crucial.
A Wimbledon side spearheaded by the dangerous 15-goal Lyle Taylor caused problems in the first half, but then adopted a route one approach in the final half-hour after 6ft-plus pair Tom Elliott and Adebayo Akinfenwa were introduced from the bench.
Jackson said: “It was brilliant to get in the dressing room with three points. It was a massive battle, more than a pretty game of football.
“Towards the end, it was tough when they put all the big lads up. But we’ve got a good team ethic of discipline and organisation. It’s not just the back four, it’s the whole team. You’ve just got to get your head or foot on it and stop it going in the net.
“We’ve grown that edge over the last few weeks.”
Jackson’s goal stemmed from a punted free-kick into the Wimbledon box which the visitors failed to deal with and was hooked goalwards by a mis-hit Luke James overhead kick.
It floated perfectly into Jackson’s path, who headed it into the top corner past the static Dons keeper.
“The most important thing for me is the clean sheet. The goal was just a bonus,” added Jackson.
“The ball just came to me, it was just a quick reaction. It came so quick off his foot, so I just helped it on towards the goal.”