Ronnie Moore praises Hartlepool’s ‘guts and character’

Connor Smith in action for Hartlepool during their 1-0 victory against AFC Wimbledon.  Picture by FRANK REID
Connor Smith in action for Hartlepool during their 1-0 victory against AFC Wimbledon. Picture by FRANK REID

RELIEVED Ronnie Moore was pleased to see his Hartlepool United side show “guts and character” in their crucial 1-0 win over Wimbledon.

A 73rd minute strike from on-loan Cambridge United forward Ryan Bird sealed the win as Pools survived 12 minutes of added-on time due to the injury to Michael Woods.

The gutsy nature pleased me

Hartlepool boss Ronnie Moore

The win pushed Pools back to within six points of safety in Sky Bet League Two.

It was a game of few chances but after a forgettable first half, Pools upped the ante on the visitors after the break and came away with a deserved win.

“The gutsy nature pleased me,” said Moore.

“The first half wasn’t good and there wasn’t a lot for our fans to get excited about.

“It was tame, too quiet.

“We said something at half-time that’s for sure because the tempo wasn’t there.

“We had to win and it’s no good coming off 0-0.

“It was a tight game and we knew it would be but we had 12 minutes to see out at the end.

“They never really looked like they were going to score, which was good for us.

“The crowd were brilliant, desperate for us to succeed and we were flat when they were willing us on.

“Maybe the injury to Woodsy gave us something.

“But it was nice when the goal went in and the final whistle went – I thought I was getting back home for Match of the Day!”

Moore was full of praise for debutant Bird, his 18-year-old strike partner Connor Smith and centre back pairing Scott Harrison and David Mirfin for keeping 16-stone Dons frontman Adebayo Akinfenwa quiet.

Moore added: “Ryan had one chance, a ball drilled at him, and he put it away.

“It was a tight game and nice for him to get the winning goal.

“Jack Compton delivered the ball – I wouldn’t say a perfect ball – but one goal was always going to win it.

“The spirit and commitment was good and if we made the right decision on the break, we could have had more.

“Connor Smith was outstanding in workrate and effort but he’s still a baby and learning the game.

“He’s frightened the life out of defenders though and Ryan Bird will get in behind defenders too.

“The defenders stood up to the challenge and we handled [Adebayo] Akinfenwa well.”

Meanwhile, a “very angry and disappointed” Dons boss Neal Ardley was left fuming with his side’s display.

Ardley said: “We didn’t do anything the game needed at any point.

“It was a nothing game, and a stupid moment from us when we aren’t set, out of shape and within three passes the ball is in the net.”