Must-win game for Hartlepool in pursuit of the Great Escape
Hartlepool United’s players have been auditioning for roles in the Great Escape in recent weeks, earning rave reviews from critics.
Now they have one final, big push to claim their place in football folklore. A win against Oldham at Boundary Park tomorrow is a must. If not the curtain on their League One existence could be drawn.
A seven-game unbeaten run including five wins has been followed up by a defeat and two draws; the form has stagnated in the past week. It is a measure, however, of how far Pools have came in the past eight weeks that a draw against Yeovil – a team probably assured of a play-off spot at minimum come April 27th – was greeted with a smattering of boos. There really is so much pinned on each and every game.
The first half of the season was an utter disaster for the Victoria Park outfit. Now, under the stewardship of the philosophical John Hughes, Pools are making a nonsense of their league position. The ire of the autumn and early winter debacles have been, temporarily at least, erased from the memory. Their performances and results are belittling their relegation zone berth. But end of season final standings are the product of months of work; not a third of the season. And that is why there is a fear that just nine nine games left may just preclude the Great Escape act being completed.
Ahead of the game with the Latics, who are a place above Pools with two games in hand, six points is preventing Pools from clawing themselves out of the relegation places. Defeat against Oldham, compounded with results elsewhere conspiring against Hughes’ men, then the sound of the fat lady clearing her throat will be echoing around the streets of Hartlepool.
It won’t be for the lack of effort from Pools to redeem for their 2012 shambolics, but desire must be met with goals in the final games. Every game is billed as the season’s definitive match, but the battle with the Latics has so much riding on it. Win it and the bridge could have been shortened to a win. Lose and it could be nine points. Tuesday, March 12, 2013: one of Hartlepool United’s most important games in their recent history.