Hartlepool United caretaker manager Antony Sweeney discusses the key factors that saw his side claim an FA Cup first round place

It wasn’t pretty, but it was job done for Hartlepool United against Brackley Town in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon.

Monday, 21st October 2019, 6:00 am
Hartlepool United caretaker manager Tony Sweeney during the FA Cup match between Hartlepool United and Brackley Town at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 19th October 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

There was plenty of positivity building up to Antony Sweeney’s first game in charge at Victoria Park following last Saturday’s big win at Aldershot Town. But things were brought back down to earth by Brackley as the visitors applied a lot of the early pressure.

Sweeney slammed the first half performance as unacceptable which prompted a heated exchange during the break.

“I told the players we need a reaction, we need leaders and someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck,” said the Hartlepool caretaker manager.

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“Whoever it is, needs to set the tone, the first half wasn’t acceptable and the players knew that.

“I wouldn’t say we had a player grab the game but we had more players improve which gave us more of a platform in the game and allowed us to get into some better areas.”

Captain Ryan Donaldson was the player who stood up to get the decisive goal with a deflected effort from distance. It wasn’t the prettiest win but Pools got there in the end.

“I’ve asked the players to take more risks and drive forward into attacking areas, don’t play the safe pass all the time,” Sweeney added.

“If you get into pockets of space and get shots on target, things like that can happen.

“I was disappointed with Gime [Toure] in the first half with him chopping back on his right foot because he’s got that ability but it went way wide so there’s no chance of a goal coming from that.

“If it’s on target there’s goalkeeper mistakes or deflections that can give you the best possible chance of scoring. Well done to Ryan to take a shot because if you don’t buy a ticket, you don’t win the raffle!

“The win was down to that as well as the ‘keeper and some resolute defending

“It was too open at times and Brackley looked much more of a threat than us but we had players working hard to get a compact shape so all of those ingredients combined to help us grind out the result.”