Why attack is the best form of defence for Hartlepool United

Michael Woods
Michael Woods

Attack is the best form of defence for Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett, who praised his side’s game management in their 2-1 victory over Exeter City.

Quick-fire goals from Michael Woods and Billy Paynter wrapped up victory at St James’ Park, with Pools continuing to push forward having taken the lead.

Hignett was keen to see his side net a third goal - with pacy striker Rhys Oates introduced in place of Paynter and both centre-backs continuing to be sent up for corners.

This tactic restricted Exeter to very few chances and was a notable improvement for a side who struggled to see out games during the early spells of Hignett’s tenure.

And while they couldn’t find a third goal to top off the victory against the Grecians, the Pools’ manager said the thought of settling for a one-goal margin of victory didn’t cross his mind.

”I don’t really think about shutting up shop,” he said. “If we are on top, as we were, I want us to go and try to score as many goals as we can.”

The former Middlesbrough striker admitted he was pleased to see his side’s ability to see out a game has improved, after pinpointing it as an area for improvement when he arrived at the Northern Power and Gas Stadium.

Indeed two of Hignett’s early games - against Notts County and Luton Town - saw Pools concede late and drop points.

But Hignett can see his side have turned a corner and look much more assured in seeing out victories this season.

“We closed the game out well, game management was good. That’s not been a strong point of ours,” he added.