A HALF-TIME ‘Ronnie Rocket’ inspired Hartlepool United to a comeback against Accrington Stanley to keep the club out of the bottom two.
And boss Ronnie Moore says his players deserve to avoid relegation after the character and spirit shown second-half.
It took some strong words from the manager to spark his players into life following a flat and uninspiring 45 minutes.
Stanley took a deserved lead through a sublime half-volley from Josh Windass as Pools went into half-time facing a third consecutive defeat.
Moore and assistant Sam Collins tore strips of the players, bringing Michael Duckworth and Lewis Hawkins off with Scott Fenwick and Jordan Jones entering the fray.
It worked, with Pools playing at a far higher tempo and the equaliser finally came in the 80th minute through sub Marlon Harewood’s header.
I had more than a little pop at them. It is no good for my ticker in that dressing room at half-time – the last two games especially.Ronnie Moore
“I think I earned my money at half-time!” said Moore.
“There was no way we could carry on the way we were playing.
“I had more than a little pop at them. It is no good for my ticker in that dressing room at half-time – the last two games especially.
“I could do without that to be honest.
“The game was so important for everyone connected to the club yet you wouldn’t know we are fighting for our lives first half.
“It was like we were on the beach. We had words at half-time and changed it.”
With Tranmere Rovers losing at Mansfield Town, Pools remain out of the drop zone, but relegation rivals Cheltenham Town won 3-1 at home to Cambridge.
It couldn’t be tighter with just two points separating the bottom three with three games to go.
Moore was pleased his side came away with a point in the end, after a miserable first half.
He added: “First half we were quiet and had gone back to that hibernation, which we have to come away from.
“I got into their ribs as did Sam at the break.
“The spirit and character was completely different after the break.”
Pools’ recent run of four straight wins ended with the draw at Newport County on Good Friday, followed by 1-0 defeats to Southend United and York City.
Moore was pleased his side stopped the run of defeats ahead of a nervy final three weeks of the season.
He added: “It is going to be nerve-racking, no doubt about that. But I think our lads deserve [to stay up] after the run that they have had.
“And it was nice to stop the rot following two defeats.”