Hartlepool beat Morecambe 1-0 to claw gap to safety back to six points

Morecambe's (red) Andy Parrish knocks the ball past his own keeper
Morecambe's (red) Andy Parrish knocks the ball past his own keeper

HARTLEPOOL United won their first away match in FIVE months with a 1-0 win over Morecambe to close the gap to safety to six points.

A 35th minute own goal from Andy Parrish was enough for Pools to take all three points away from the Globe Arena.

It was a vastly improved Pools performance and they deserved the three points to close the gap to safety with 10 games left to go.

Pools defended with their lives in the final stages of the game to secure their first clean sheet in 23 attempts away from The Vic.

Jonathan Franks, Brad Walker and Michael Duckworth all returned as Ronnie Moore made three changes and opted for a 3-5-2 formation.

Duckworth started at left-wing back, with Neil Austin at right-wing back.

Hartlepool United fans at Morecambe

Hartlepool United fans at Morecambe

There was no place in the squad for Jack Compton and Marvin Morgan, neither are injured, and both were left behind.

Pools - backed by hundreds of vocal travelling supporters - started the game well, pressing the home side.

The first chance of the match came from a deep Franks corner, Dan Jones heading the ball just wide in the 8th minute.

It was a let-off for Jim Bentley’s side, the defender should have had at least hit the target.

The game was open at the Globe Arena, Kevin Ellison and Jack Redshaw the dangermen for the hosts.

And the latter carved open the Pools defence, laying the ball back across goal only for Harrison to clear the danger from three yards out.

Ellison should have then at least hit the target in the 23rd minute, his shot going high over the stand after being teed up by Padraig Amond.

It was an open, entertaining match, and the opening goal came in the 35th minute, through a Andy PARRISH own goal.

Nicky Featherstone split the Morecambe defence open with a superb pass to the onrushing Bird, he steadied himself but before he could strike, Parrish knocked it in.

The bench erupted - along with the travelling supporters - as Pools looked for their first away win since October.

Half-Time: Morecambe 0 Pools 1

Pools were camped in their own half for the opening stages of the second-half, as the hosts looked to get back into the game.

It took until the 58th minute for Pools to break forward with purpose.

Franks’ bursting run through the middle carved the defence open but his cross to Bird was behind him and the move broke down.

Five minutes later and The Shrimps should have been level, Redshaw somehow failed to tap the ball into the net from a yard out after it was flashed across goal.

A major let-off for Pools.

Pools then produced a piece of defensive brilliance to keep the scores level.

First Scott Flinders produced a wonder save in the 71st minute to deny Ellison, then Featherstone cleared the rebound off the line.

Walker - who hadn’t started a game this calendar year - was subbed in the 72nd minute, Lewis Hawkins coming on for him.

Ellison hit the crossbar in the 76th minute, he got ahead of Mirfin and his shot was deflected onto the crossbar.

Bird almost doubled Pools’ lead with 12 minutes left, he rounded keeper Andreas Arestidou but there was two defenders on the line and his shot was cleared.

Morecambe broke at speed but Amond wasted a glorious chance to equalise, blasting his shot high over the bar from close range.

It was a tense finale to the match as the fourth official hoisted six minutes up on the board, due to an earlier injury to Shaun Beeley.

But Pools held firm to restore hope. Once again.

Full-Time: Morecambe 0 Pools 1

Morecambe (4-2-1-3): Arestidou, Beeley (McGowan, 86), Hughes (C), Parrish, Wilson, Wright (Drummond, 65), Fleming, Mullin (Sampson, 65), Ellison, Amond, Redshaw.

Subs Not Used: Stewart, Kenyon, Williams, Goodall.

Booked: None.

Pools (3-5-2): Flinders, Austin, Mirfin, Harrison, D Jones, Duckworth, Featherstone, Walker (Hawkins, 72), Tshibola, Franks, Bird.

Subs Not Used: Maxted, Holden, Richards, J Jones, Smith, Harewood.

Booked: None.

Scorer: Parrish OG (35)

Referee: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire)

Attendance 1,673 (Pools 307)