Hartlepool United's half-time 'words' inspires FA Cup win at South Shields

Devante Rodney gets the better of Julio Arca. Picture by TOM BANKS
Devante Rodney gets the better of Julio Arca. Picture by TOM BANKS

Craig Harrison said some strong words at half-time inspired Hartlepool United's FA Cup comeback at South Shields.

The Pools boss praised the character of his players after fighting back from 1-0 down to beat the in-form hosts 2-1.

Pools were in grave danger of crashing out at the fourth qualifying round stage after going behind to a 26th-minute Carl Finnigan goal.

But Harrison's team recovered thanks to two goals in six minutes from Devante Rodney and Nicky Deverdics early in the second half.

"I must give all the credit to the players for their reaction," said the manager.

"I've gone in at half-time a little bit after the players and they were already having a right go at each other.

"They knew that 20-minute spell before half-time wasn't good enough.

"We needed that half-time break to re-group, get ourselves together to go again and get out there and play.

"We did that and in the end while 2-1 was not comfortable, it's probably as good as we've been for a few weeks."

Rodney's first goal of the season was highly-composed in the 53rd-minute while Deverdics smashed home a 25-yard free-kick to beat a club who had won 51 of their previous 53 matches.

"It was a great finish from Devante, he's passed it into the net," said Harrison. "He showed you don't have to whack the cover off it.

"We all know how good Devs can be at free-kicks and corners, I see him practicing this sort of thing every day in training."

Pools were close to being out of the competition by half-time.

After a promising opening from the side in blue and white, they fell behind to Finnigan's fine turn and finish.

The leading scorer was denied a second by Scott Loach who saved superbly from Matty Pattison, who saw a sweet right-foot shot hit the bar.

"I thought we'd play well up until they scored their goal, we'd had all the possession," said Harrison.

"We got the ball wide, got play into dangerous areas, but we didn't fill the box enough or pick the right pass or cross.

"With a bit more thought and guile could have been two up.

"They scored totally against the run of play and we panicked a bit after that and they came into the game for the last 20 minutes of the first half.

"The second half? I thought there was only one team in it, we had a lot of possession and passed the ball really well.

"The two centre-halves were fantastic in the second half.

"I'm really pleased for the lads, they showed great character."