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Matthew Bates discusses Hartlepool United's win at Halifax and the nine minute period that changed the game

Matthew Bates on the sidelines at the Shay.
Matthew Bates on the sidelines at the Shay.

Matthew Bates believes his side are steadily improving as they continue their climb up the National League table.

This afternoon's 2-1 win at Halifax Town further underlined Pools' promotion credentials as they extended their unbeaten run in the fifth tier to nine games.

And Bates is sure his side can continue to improve with high-flying Salford City coming up on Tuesday.

"From the start that was one of the best performances we have put in," said the manager.

"The way we moved the ball about, the intensity. It was exactly what I asked for.

"We should have been out of sight by half time. The red cards have helped us, of course, but I think we would have won with 11 v 11.

"We are improving. I said that we would and we are. I was over the moon with how we moved it and how we played.

"This was against an organised side, too. Everyone to a man was magnificent on the day."

The game was one-sided in the opening 45 but things all changed just after the break when home skipper Matty Brown was shown a red card by the referee for an off the ball incident.

Bates is certain referee Daniel Middleton got the call spot on.

"I got a view of it. I don't want to say he has stamped," said Bates.

"Peter has headed the ball and gone down on the floor and the lad has hit his head.

"I will have to watch it back whether it is a stamp or a kick but you can't tell me he can't stop himself hitting his head."

A penalty was stuck away by Liam Noble and further added to by Nicky Featherstone, while the Shaymen also saw Matty Kosylo depart for two bookables.

Bates reckons it wouldn't have mattered how many players Pools were facing - they'd have won anyway.

He continued: "I think it was how good we were playing why they went down to nine. It was their frustration.

"If weren't so dominant that wouldn't have happened. We have caused that."