Rhys Oates shows stomach for the fight with crucial Pools point

Rhys Oates makes an impact against Carlisle. Picture by Frank Reid
Rhys Oates makes an impact against Carlisle. Picture by Frank Reid

Rhys Oates showed he and Hartlepool United have the stomach for the fight – literally.

Pools looked like slipping into the Football League’s drop zone for the first time since March 2015 when Oates scored his fifth goal of the season to grab a 1-1 draw with Carlisle United.

The 22-year-old was, of course, not to know it, but his side had been, temporarily overtaken by Newport on goal difference.

Mickey Demetriou found the net with a free-kick just before the hour which gave County a 1-0 victory over Yeovil at Rodney Parade

So when Oates struck the equaliser for Pools in the 65th minute against the Cumbrians it was just what the doctor ordered, as he charged down a Danny Grainger clearance and beat keeper Mark Gillespie with a cool left-foot finish.

Was it a case of a twinkle of the feet the Yorkshireman was asked in his media conference.

“I wouldn’t say it was twinkle of my feet,” smiled Oates. “I think he’s gone to clear it and it’s hit me in the stomach and it’s bounced through and I’ve managed to keep my composure and slot it away.”

Oates may not score a more important goal for Pools this season – unless he grabs the winner on Monday at Leyton Orient.

But his was not the only vital intervention yesterday at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

Joe Fryer has made a couple of crucial saves, while Liam Donnelly has produced a magnificent block on Shaun Brisley.

“It looked like they had an open goal and Liam came from nowhere,” said Oates.

“There was some great work by our defence to make sure we got a point.”

Oates said it was a “good point” for Pools but admits they need a maximum haul at Brisbane Road on Easter Monday.

“It’s a massive game,” he said. “I think we need to take all three points.

“It’s still in our hands – we are not in the bottom two.”