Joe Grey discusses FA Cup joy after scoring against Blackpool to send Hartlepool United into a fourth round tie with Crystal Palace

Joe Grey couldn't have picked a better moment to score his first goal of the season for Hartlepool United.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 12:51 pm
Updated Monday, 10th January 2022, 12:57 pm

The 18-year-old had only been on the field a matter of moments before Tom Crawford was able to slide a pass into him inside the Blackpool penalty area.

With the game finely poised at that stage following David Ferguson’s equaliser, Grey displayed a coolness and a composure way beyond his teenage years to steer the ball beyond Daniel Grimshaw into the back of the net to give Pools the lead.

And it was a lead they would hold onto to book a spot in the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time in 13 years where they will face Premier League side Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

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Joe Grey scored his first goal of the season as Hartlepool United came from behind to beat Blackpool in the FA Cup. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

“It’s unbelievable. The feeling when that ball hit the back of the net was great and with all of the fans chanting, you can’t even describe how good it feels,” Grey explained.

“And to beat a Championship team was even better.

“I try my best every time I come on and luckily it’s just fallen to me nicely and I’ve hit it well and it’s went in so I can't ask for much more can I?

“We’re confident in every game we go into because we know we’ve got the team to beat anyone but it’s all about on the day and we’ve done enough.

Joe Grey has returned to the Hartlepool United side this season after a back injury last year. Picture by FRANK REID

“Everyone out there in the starting XI has done unbelievable.”

Grey might have wondered when, or even if, his moment of glory would come in a Hartlepool shirt after a challenging first 18 months with the club.

Grey signed his first professional deal in football with Pools back in 2020 and would make his debut in the National League as they ran out 4-0 winners over Maidenhead United.

And he announced himself to Pools fans a fortnight later when grabbing his first goal for the club in the FA Cup success over Ilkeston Town.

Grey headed into 2021 hoping to continue his promising progression before being dealt a cruel blow with a back injury that would keep him out of action from February.

But to his credit, Grey has continued to work hard on his rehabilitation and has been involved 18 times this season since his return against Bristol Rovers in September, with Saturday’s FA Cup winner the crowning moment of the teenager stars young career.

“It was hard because I was just getting into the season last year. I was starting a couple of games but the back injury set me back about six months really,” said Grey.

“I’ve just come back this season trying to do my best every time I come off the bench, just giving it my all, and I’ve come on and scored so all of the hard work has come good.

“I always have belief going into a game that I’m going to score but it’s just that bit of luck you need and that one chance to get you off the mark and luckily it’s came on a great occasion.

“The gaffer has helped me loads off the pitch and on the pitch. He’s been a great coach so far and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with him.”

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