What we learned: Hartlepool United (H)

access_time 3 years ago

Here’s what we learned…

1. Defensive Stability

Marvin Ekpiteta and Josh Coulson were immense, while Craig Clay ran his socks off in front of them. Hartlepool forced a save out of Dean Brill in second-half stoppage time but it was pretty much the first save he had to make. It was the O’s seventh clean sheet of the season – a number it took the Club until January 7, or 29 games, to achieve last season.

2. Chances

Against all odds, it was the O’s who looked closest to scoring in the final 25 minutes of the second half: Koroma and Brophy having decent chances, McAnuff whistling a free-kick just wide and Alabi watching his flick hit the crossbar. While they didn’t manage to put one past Scott Loach, the fact that chances were being created is a positive.

3. Character

Its a characteristic that has defined the season so far yet when Joe Widdowson was sent off early into the second half, you would have been forgiven for thinking that the visitors were favourites. However, the O’s dug deep, worked extremely hard and dominated the final stages.

4. Brave Tactics

When your defender gets sent off with over 35 minutes of the game left, many managers would have thrown another defender on and tried to sit back for a point. Not Justin Edinburgh. The O’s Head Coach kept three defenders on and ended up substituting two forwards onto the field, and it almost paid off. The O’s dominated the game and went close several times.

5. Huge Crowd!

With it being Non-League Day, and tickets at just £5, the O’s got a huge attendance of 6,825. Only League One sides Coventry City, Oxford United and Barnsley claimed a bigger crowd in English football on Saturday – an amazing achievement for a National League side.