A PROUD Mick Wadsworth believes his side produced arguably their best display of the season and deserved more than just a point from last night’s draw with Southampton.
Hartlepool had already beaten the only four teams above The Saints in League One this season.
And again they refused to surrender to the reputation of the big boys, instead laying siege to opposition territory during a frenetic encounter
A string of openings were carved out in the second period and the visiting goal led something of a charmed life as Gary Liddle, Antony Sweeney and Peter Hartley all went close to breaking the deadlock.
But a clearly delighted Wadsworth said he couldn’t have asked for any more from his players as they put 11 points between themselves and the danger zone.
“It was a real cracker of a game,” he said, “Both teams had a good go but from our point of view I was so proud of my players – from minute one they gave everything.
“If it had of been a boxing match we would have probably shaded it.
“We tried to play on the front foot and had a real good go at them.
“Colin Larkin came on and had a decent opening which maybe he should have taken first time, and on another day Antony Sweeney scores with his chance.”
He added: “But I also thought we were excellent defensively.
“We had to deal with their better players and the likes of Alex Chamberlain and Adam Lallana were unable to make any impact – it’s hard to keep players like that quiet so credit to our lads.”
Pools had one second-half shout for a penalty kick when Ryan Donaldson toppled after Jose Fonte had taken two bites at the forward.
And Wadsworth said: “I thought Ryan was a bit laboured going down and the ref was close enough to make a call.
“But no complaints because Scott Mathieson is a very good referee.”
On an otherwise positive night for Pools there was a fresh injury scare for James Brown who failed to emerge after the break.
Wadsworth explained: “Brownie’s ankle came right up after he was caught by Ritchie Chaplow.
“We’ll have to see how he is – but that boy’s had no luck.”
Meanwhile, Ritchie Humphreys was an unused substitute meaning he will have to wait before setting a new all-time appearance record for the club.
Wadsworth is also waiting to hear if on-loan Newcastle United striker Donaldson will be extending his stay at The Vic as the Pools boss hopes will be the case.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Collins, Horwood, Haslam, Hartley, Liddle, Monkhouse, Sweeney, Murray (McSweeney 72), Donaldson (Boyd 84), Brown (Larkin 46). Subs: Rafferty, Humphreys, Gamble, Yantorno.
Southampton: Davis, Harding, Fonte, Butterfield, Jaidi, Guly, Hammond, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Barnard 76), Chaplow, Lambert. Subs: Shea, Richardson, Martin, Schneiderlin, Gobern, N’Guessan.
Ref: Mr. Mathieson Att: 3,301