INSTEAD of condemning the on-the-pitch fracas between Antony Sweeney and Sam Collins, manager John Hughes described it as “brilliant”.
And the Scot believes their confrontation epitomised the spirit of Saturday’s 3-2 win at Sheffield United.
With the score at 1-1 and The Blades having just seen a goal disallowed for offside, Sweeney and Collins were involved in a spat which had to be calmed by team-mates.
But within minutes of their altercation Pools were ahead when Ritchie Humphreys prodded home.
And Pools chief Hughes, a man famed for his own uncompromising approach as a player, told SportMail: “It (incident between Collins and Sweeney) was brilliant – that’s a bit of character.
“As long as it’s done in the right spirit then it’s OK.
“The two of them were laughing about it after.
“I turned to the bench when it happened and said ‘brilliant, that’s what we want’.”
Indeed, Hughes was thrilled with the effort of his men as they matched their table-topping opponents in every department.
He admits, however, that the boggy pitch suited his side more than the hosts.
“The pitch suited us, it was heavy and slowed it down,” he went on.
“But the effort and commitment was fantastic.
“I told the boys to match them for their fight and spirit.
“Could they win their one-on-one battles? They certainly did that.
“They are at the top of the league and we expected them to come out and have a right good go at us.
“I was asking them to stand up to that.
“The pleasing thing was that as soon as they went past one of our men then there was another one standing up to him – that’s what gets you results.
“You should relish coming to places like Sheffield United and we did.
“Every one of them to a man was a different class.”