Hartlepool United 2 Bromley 1: Hawkes debut strike and Woods cracker seal another vital three points

Debutant Josh Hawkes nets Pools' opener after 10 minutes.
Debutant Josh Hawkes nets Pools' opener after 10 minutes.

Hartlepool United stretched the gap to the bottom four to five points with yet another vital win in their bid to avoid the National League drop.

It was a full debut to remember for Josh Hawkes, who opened the scoring with a long-range effort. Josh Rees then levelled on the stroke of half-time before a well-worked ninth goal of the season for Michael Woods sealed all three points.

Potential new director of football Craig Hignett sits between current chief executive Pam Duxbury (right) and prospective owner Raj Singh.

Potential new director of football Craig Hignett sits between current chief executive Pam Duxbury (right) and prospective owner Raj Singh.

Just 10 minutes had passed in this one when youngster Hawkes, thrown in from the off by Matthew Bates, announced himself on the scene at the Vic.

Finding space 25 yards from goal the teenager tried his luck from distance and the ball deflected over the head of David Gregory for 1-0.

That strike might have had an element of luck about it but Pools overall performances left nothing to chance.

From front to back they continued their steady improvement by dominating proceedings for the full 45 minutes.

Michael Woods scores his ninth goal of the season to make it 2-1.

Michael Woods scores his ninth goal of the season to make it 2-1.

The impressive Blair Adams came within inches of picking out Rhys Oates in the area and the defender himself went close to netting a second, curling just wide from the edge of the area with the outside of his left boot.

Pools were fired a warning shot just before the break when Adam Mekki went close, but Bates' men were made to pay right on half-time when Scott Loach failed to come for a corner and Rees turned in from inside the six-yard box.

Much the better side, it was a deflating end to an otherwise impressive opening 45.

Pools struggled to find their earlier fluency post-half-time.

But with the first real flash of quality in the half they were in front again. A curled ball in from the left was expertly knocked down by substitute Devante Rodney and Woods steamed in to hammer past Gregory for 2-1. It was no less than the hosts deserved.

A nervy final 25 ensued with Pools edging further and further into their shell, but by the same token the unambitious visitors hardly peppered the home goal.

And despite not having a takeover to celebrate, Pools did have three points. And heading into the hectic Easter weekend, Pools have just that bit breathing space they've so craved.

The watching Raj Singh and Craig Hignett will have been impressed by what they saw both on the park, and increasingly from the dugout.