Craig Harrison tactical changes pay dividens for Hartlepool United at Torquay

Nicky Deverdics
Nicky Deverdics

Craig Harrison’s tactical astuteness took Hartlepool United to a vital 2-0 victory at Torquay United.

Pools were struggling against the tide in the first half at Plainmoor, where they were forced to fight off wave after wave of Gulls attacks.

We needed to be 10 yards closer together, more compact from back to front


Harrison changed his back four on the half-hour, switching Liam Donnelly from right back-to central defence, with Michael Ledger going in the opposite direction.

Torquay did squander one glorious chance through Jamie Reid just after the tweak to the back four.

But the alteration paid dividends with the Donnelly-Louis Laing partnership in excellent form.

So too did the change in formation in the second half after Pools has opened the contest with a 4-1-4-1 system with Nicky Featherstone in front of the back four with (from the left), Nicky Deverdics (pictured), Michael Woods, Luke George and Jonathan Franks behind lone striker, Rhys Oates.

“I just think it was a little bit of inexperience from Michael, allied to not having trained an awful lot, we’ve had to manage him a little because of his muscle injury.

“I just felt they were getting in a bit down the side, we needed to be a bit higher up and Liam has that little bit more experience and pace.

“We swapped them over and the back four looked a lot better as a unit.”

After the break, Pools looked a totally different side as they immediately got on the front foot against Gary Owers’ team.

“We pushed a extra man up the pitch and pushed the back four higher up to plug the gaps,” Harrison tol dSportMail.

“The gaps were too big in the first half, we were too spread out and they played around us.

“We needed to be 10 yards closer together, more compact from back to front.

“It got us on the front foot and got us closing the down quicker.

“Not being disrespectful, but if you give any team too much and time and space they can play, but players will struggle if you put them under pressure.”