Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett discusses his 'only criticism' in Maidenhead win as he hails 'immense' Ryan Donaldson

Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett was delighted to see his side get off the mark for the season with a hard-earned 1-0 win at Maidenhead United.

By Dominic Scurr
Sunday, 11 August, 2019, 17:00
Craig Hignett during the Vanarama National League match between Maidenhead United and Hartlepool United at York Road, Maidenhead on Saturday 10th August 2019. (Credit: Ian Randall | MI News)

Niko Muir’s 55th minute strike was enough to separate the sides at York Road as an organised and controlling display from Pools saw them claim a deserved three points.

But it wasn’t quite a perfect display from Hignett’s side who didn’t fully capitalise on their early dominance as the sides went in goalless at the break.

“We started the game really well here, we kept the ball well and put them under pressure,” said the Pools boss.

Craig Hignett & Liam Noble discuss tactics during the Vanarama National League match between Maidenhead United and Hartlepool United at York Road, Maidenhead on Saturday 10th August 2019. (Credit: Ian Randall | MI News)

“My only criticism and it’s a minor one is that we didn’t work the keeper well enough for the possession that we had.”

Ryan Donaldson impressed on his return to the side after missing the entirety of pre-season due to a calf injury.

The United skipper played 85 minutes and came very close to opening the scoring on the stroke of half-time. And Hignett was keen to praise the 28-year-old.

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“We had a really great chance through Ryan Donaldson who feels he should have scored and everyone feels he should have scored,” he added.

“But again, special mention has got to go to him, it’s his first game, he’s hardly done any training and I thought he was immense.

“I thought the performance he put in was fabulous but I don’t really want to single people about because I thought it was a really good team performance.

“We were missing Luke James, obviously his wife is expecting their baby – Romoney [Crichlow-Noble], due to his family circumstances, couldn’t play. We’ve had to put up with a couple of things and issues this week but I’m pleased the squad and how we’ve coped.

“Then at the end, when they’re lumping the ball in our box and asking questions I thought we all stood up and were counted apart from that one header at the end. I don’t think Ben [Killip] had a save to make really.

“From my point of view, coming away from home, getting the three points and getting the clean sheet – it’s all positive.”