MICK Wadsworth believes Hartlepool United took a “huge step” towards League One survival following their 2-1 win over Charlton Athletic.
Pools’ nightmare start to 2011 had silenced all previous talk of a play-off push, instead raising grave concerns that another relegation scrap could be on the cards.
But successive home wins over Colchester United and now the Addicks last night – bookending Saturday’s heavy loss at Brighton – have allayed those fears and this latest points haul moves Wadsworth’s boys nine clear of the third-tier trapdoor.
Last night’s success was achieved thanks to goals from Andy Monkhouse and Gary Liddle, interspersed by Nathan Ecclestone’s equaliser, and Wadsworth told SportMail it was the perfect start to a trio of matches at the Vic.
“This result is a huge step towards survival and a great start to these three home games,” he said.
“From the first minute until the last, their goal apart, I thought we were the better team.
“I’m thrilled for the players because we needed a performance and a result after Saturday.
“But I have to say I didn’t feel in an anxious state at any point – even when they equalised, because I thought it was against the run of play.
“But we came back and that’s a big plus for the lads.
“They have bounced back excellently and that’s a good quality.”
From the first minute, Pools demonstrated their intention to right the wrongs of the weekend catastrophe at Brighton and took the lead through Monkhouse on 14 minutes.
Ecclestone levelled nine minutes into the second period but Liddle headed his fifth of the season just after the hour mark to seal the points.
And, from goalkeeper Scott Flinders through to the recalled front pairing of James Brown and Ryan Donaldson, Wadsworth couldn’t pick fault with any of his men.
“They were all brilliant, I must say that,” added the Pools boss, whose side are up to 12th in the table with MK Dons next up on Saturday.”
Read more about Pools win in today’s Mail.