MANAGERLESS Hartlepool United have climbed out of the relegation zone after an excellent 2-1 win away at Exeter City in Sky Bet League Two.
Michael Woods gave Pools the lead in the 49th minute, his first for the club with a smart volley, before Charlie Wyke made it 2-0 in the 66th minute with a delicate finish.
The lead was halved with ten minutes left to play to ensure a nervy finish, Christian Ribeiro with the header.
But Pools held on to secure only their third win of the season to push them out of the drop-zone.
Caretaker boss Sam Collins made just one change, with defender Matthew Bates starting in central midfield, with Collins again opting for a 4-3-3 formation.
There was no place again in the squad for dropped Marlon Harewood and with on-loan Newcastle United goalkeeper on international duty with England U-19s, Pools did not name a sub keeper on the bench.
Pools almost took the lead in the 11th minute, Dan Jones fizzed in a long-rang shot from 25+ yards only for keeper Christy Pym to palm it away for a corner.
From that corner, Jones then went even closer, hitting the crossbar with a header from close range before Bates’ shot was blocked.
Exeter had chances of their own, with Matt Grimes testing Scott Flinders with a free-kick early on and a fierce shot from 25-yards, both saved by the Pools captain.
Flinders had been handed the armband ahead of Bates, who came into the side in place of youngster Kieran Green, with the midfielder named on the bench.
Paul Tisdale’s side had more of the ball in the opening 45 minutes but struggled to create clear-cut chances, while Pools looked well organised with a good shape.
Pools came out firing after the break though and took the lead in the 49th minute.
Michael Duckworth broke free down the right-hand side and his cross from the byline was met by WOODS 12-yards out who volleyed his first goal for the club past Christy Pym.
It should have been 2-0 in the 53rd minute.
Lewis Hawkins with a smart volley from the edge of the area past the keeper but it bounced off Matt Oakley’s knee on the line into Pym’s hands.
WYKE doubled Pools’ lead in the 66th minute after some excellent work between him and Lewis Hawkins on the edge of the area.
The on-loan Boro striker sold the Exeter defence a dummy before curling a lovely left-footed finish past Pym, before celebrating in style.
Wyke and Hawkins then both went close as the away side looked to add to their lead.
Exeter pulled one back in the 80th minute through defender RIBEIRO, who headed the ball home on the line after Flinders had initially saved Jimmy Keohane’s header.
It was a nervy last few minutes with chances for both sides but Collins’ side held firm for a deserved win.
Exeter City: Pym, Davies, Ribeiro, Oakley, Woodman, Riley-Lowe (Nicols, 61), Butterfield (Noble, 71), Grimes, Keohane, Bennett (C), Cummins (Wheeler, 61).
Subs Not Used: Hamon, Tillson, Noble, Jay, Watkins.
Goal: Ribeiro (80)
Pools (4-3-3): Flinders (C), Duckworth, Harrison, Austin, Jones, Miller, Bates, Wood, Brobbel, Hawkins (Franks, 90), Wyke.
Subs Not Used: Richards, Holden, Green, Walker, Atkinson, Smith.
Goal: Woods (49), Wyke (66)
Referee: Darren Sheldrake (Surrey)
Attendance: 3,547 (Pools 93)