Matthew Bates reacts to Hartlepool United's win at Havant & Waterlooville

Matthew Bates admits he's doing his best to keep his players' feet on the ground after Hartlepool United climbed to within two points of the National League summit.

Two Liam Noble penalty kicks, one of which was with virtually the last kick of the game, ensured Pools made it four wins on the trot against Havant, and just one loss in eight fifth tier outings.

Matthew Bates.

Matthew Bates.

Bates knows nothing is won at this stage of the campaign and for that reason he's keen to keep expectations and excitement to a minimum, especially with the crucial visit of Barrow (Tuesday night) just around the corner.

A win in that game has the potential to send Pools to the top of the division, depending on results elsewhere.

"It is credit to the lads - they kept going. I think overall we deserved it," said Bates.

"The form was not great - the lads know that - but they kept on going and made sure we got the win.



"You don't win anything in the first eight games. We need to keep going.

"We want to be at the top end of that table and in order to do that we must keep getting results like this one."

As a player, caretaker or manager, Bates admits he's not seen a side at Pools with the capability to win, even when not playing well.

That was until this side came along.

"It doesn't matter where you go in this league it is hard. The lads are really pleased," he continued.

"It is the first time I have been involved with a team - in four or five years - that can win the hard way.

"We were not great. The lads know that. But we still won and that's what good teams do."

Bates had a message for the Poolies who travelled down to cheer his side on to victory.

Throughout they made their presence known, and many of the locals were astounded by the atmosphere created from the lads up north. Bates was, too.

"I was gobsmacked how many we brought down," said Bates.

"All I could hear throughout the game was our fans - I could not hear their fans at all."