Collins guides Hartlepool United to win over Scunthorpe

GOAL: James Poole. Picture by FRANK REID
GOAL: James Poole. Picture by FRANK REID

AT THIS rate he will be getting the job every week!

Hartlepool United boss Colin Cooper and assistant Craig Hignett put Sam Collins in charge of last night’s reserve team match with Scunthorpe at Billingham Town.

And ‘big Sam’, keen to move into coaching and management when his long career comes to an end, did not let Pools down, with his side emerging with a 2-1 win over the Iron.

The football was pretty good and the goals even better, James Poole and local lad Zak Boagey scoring two beauties with Scunthorpe getting a late consolation.

It proved a happy night for Collins, who was assisted on the touchline at Bedford Terrace by the director of youth John Hewitson, while on the field there was a successful return to action for skipper Antony Sweeney.

“To be given the opportunity to do this was really pleasing and I enjoyed it,” said Collins.

“I’ve taken the lads in training and now to do it on the night was superb.

“There were two great goals but I thought the overall performance was very good as well.

“Sweens has been out for a while so it was good to see him get an hour under his belt.

“Lewis Hawkins has been out for a bit and he was back last night too.

“We’re really pleased with how some of the young lads have done.

“They have taken on board the gaffer’s ideas and the way he wants us to play.

“Even if the reserve team results have not gone for us so far, some of the performances the young lads have put in have been really good.

“I am just pleased the lads have got the rewards last night with that result.”

Sweeney and fellow first-team squad man Nialle Rodney threatened early on but the Iron goal stayed intact.

But when the first goal came, it was an absolute belter.

Poole took the ball down on his thigh 25 yards out before advancing forward and smashing a left-footer in off keeper James Severn’s post.

However, it was not all Pools. Jamie Wooton went close for Scunthorpe only for Andy Rafferty to pull off a brilliant finger-tip save.

Greg Rutherford almost scored for Pools when he went through the right-side before putting his effort over the bar,

The midfielder had another opening after the break following a good link-up with right-back Jordan Richards but his shot was deflected behind.

Rafferty though was proving unbeatable at the other end, blocking well from Curtis Bateson and then saving with his legs to deny Hakeeb Adelakun.

Those two excellent interventions proved crucial as Boagey doubled the home advantage midway through the half.

The teenager weaved his way through the defence and the ball sat up nicely for him to net a stunner.

It wasn’t all over and, not for the first time, Rafferty produced the goods, beating away a chance which fell to Billy Beresford just seconds after the speedy sub entered the field.

Iron deserved a goal for their efforts and Callum Howe’s downward 83rd-minute header from a corner hit the turf hard and bounced into the net.

Pools though were not to be denied and they played time out with some good football.

Pools: Rafferty, Richards, Rowbotham, Jones, Holden, Hawkins, Sweeney (Green 73), Boagey, Rodney (Wignall 64), Poole, Rutherford.

Subs not used: Nellis, Wood, Turner.

Scunthorpe United: Severn, Hare, Cowling, Hornsey, Howe, Waterfall, Adelakun, Sutton, K Wooton, J Wooton (Beresford 73), Smythe (Bateson 53).