Hartlepool 2 Doncaster 1: Pools claim a first win

Hartlepool United manager Keith Curle
Hartlepool United manager Keith Curle

KEITH CURLE has welcomed a winning feeling returning to Hartlepool - and pledged to build on it in the games that lie ahead.

Substitute Wes McDonald grabbed an 86th-minute winner against Doncaster to earn Pools a first victory since March and move them out of the relegation zone in League Two.

As well as ending a 20-match run without a win, Hartlepool's 2-1 victory secured a first success at home since February and a first three points for Curle since he replaced Paul Hartley last month.

Curle had started well with two draws, but to have delivered a first win since taking over lifted everyone inside the Suit Direct Stadium.

McDonald’s incisive run into the penalty area and low finish inside the bottom corner came after Doncaster had equalised with 23 minutes remaining through 18-year-old Bobby Faulkner.

That had cancelled out Hartlepool’s opener seven minutes before half-time when striker Josh Umerah pounced to score his sixth goal of the season.

Curle, who celebrated with the fans and players after the final whistle, said: “I don’t think they have been used to winning.

“But they have a manager who has simplified it. There was a nervousness in there about ‘do we celebrate? Do we put the music on?’ I have told them we create our atmosphere.

“It was nice to be able to understand the bench, shuffle the pack, and I loved Wes’ celebration, his goal. It showed the unity we are trying to grow here.

“We have been simplifying responsibility. This football club needed a win, the changing room needed a win, the supporters needed a win, the town did, the chairman did, I did. The harder we work the more of these will materialise.

“I value the fans’ support, to get the backing of the fans. I demand that the players show their appreciation. We are all under one banner, Hartlepool United.”

While Pools climbed out of the drop zone with a first win in 12 games this season, Doncaster dropped down to ninth.

Rovers boss Gary McSheffrey, who had won the last two matches, was far from happy.

He said: “First half we got bullied. Their front two got the better of our centre-backs and we were hoping to go in 0-0 and change a couple of things. Then an individual error cost us for the goal.

“Second half we got to grips with it, changed the shape, got ourselves back in, couple of chances, got the equaliser. Then it was about making sure you don’t lose, but another error has cost us."