Matthew Bates reveals key advice and role he played in Hartlepool’s winner against York

Michael Woods scores the winner
Michael Woods scores the winner

Matthew Bates did not get an ‘assist’ for Hartlepool United’s winner against York City.

But the defender was happy to reveal he played a key role in the deft 72nd-minute Michael Woods goal.

It has to be said that Bates’s former Pools comrade, Scott Flinders was looking borderline unbeatable, so the cross by Carl Magnay and the deft header by Woods had to be good.

They were. And with Bates and Co doing their bit at the back, Pools had their 15th win in League Two and their eighth under Craig Hignett.

Had it not been for a wise word from Bates, Pools may have had to settle for a point, which would not have gone down well given York spent 55 minutes with 10 men.

“Before he scored he (Woods) was hanging around outside the box and I was telling him to get in!” said Bates.

“The next time a cross came in, Woodsy was in the box and scored!

“So after the goal I had a bit craic with him and told him he should get in the area more often.

“He’s got that in his locker, he can time his runs.

“We need him in the box more and try to score more goals.”

After the five-goal romp at Morecambe seven days earlier, fans – and players – could probably have been forgiven for thinking this match against their rivals from down the A19 could have gone the same way.

York were already trailing to Nathan Thomas’s fifth goal in Pools colours when dozy Dave Winfield got his marching orders before half-time.

The centre-half was off after picking up two yellow cards and that left the Minstermen playing with 10 men for the last 55 minutes.

But there was not to be a goal glut and City even equalised on the stroke of half-time when on-loan Newcastle United youngster Kyle Cameron headed in Luke Summerfield’s corner.

Pools had plenty of ball and chances but with Flinders in inspired form, it was left to Woods to rescue the points.

“Maybe we should have killed the game off earlier,” admitted Bates.

“We had a few chances and Scott Flinders has probably been their man of the match.

“He had a great game and kept us at bay when we were trying to kill the game off.

“We made it hard for ourselves but that sometimes happens when you are playing against 10 men.

“We scored the first goal and when they had a man sent off you think ‘happy days, it should be an easy afternoon’ but York defended deep and made it hard for us.

“We conceded one from a set-piece which was disappointing but aside from that, I’m not sure Trevor Carson has had a save to make.

“We could may be have had three or four at the other end but that’s football.

“We ground it out and got the three points.”

And Bates says sometimes a close single-goal victory is every bit as satisfying as a goal glut.

The 29-year-old pointed to Premier League title favourites Leicester City as an example of that.

“It’s important to be able to dig it out,” he said.

“Sometimes you don’t have to play brilliantly, you just have to be able to grind out results, win by the odd goal here or there.

“Look how many 1-0s Leicester have won by.”

Bates was happy to play his part alongside Adam Jackson at the centre of the Pools defence and was pleased to be back after a two-game absence.

“I felt fine on Saturday, I probably felt better for having a rest to be honest,” he explained.

“I’ve missed playing, especially with us scoring five goals at Morecambe.

“It must have been the first time we have scored two in the first 10 minutes, it would have been nice to have enjoyed a more relaxing afternoon!

“It was nice to be back and we have a few more games left this season and it would be nice to play in them.”