HARTLEPOOL United’s search for a win continues – but Mick Wadsworth had no complaints with last night’s 1-1 outcome against Notts County.
The Pools boss, who handed a full debut to new loan signing Ryan Donaldson, expressed his relief after seeing a 419-minute goal drought brought to an end by Gary Liddle’s first-half opener.
But Wadsworth admitted The Magpies deserved a point after Lee Hughes levelled during a second period in which the visitors were the better side.
“The draw was fair and I’ve no complaints,” he told SportMail after Pools’ winless streak extended to six matches.
“I thought we did okay first half, were the better team and got a good goal.
“In the second half they played in a more direct manner.
“We’ve been troubled by that before where we get a little bit too deep.
“But I was quite pleased that in the end we got to grips with it and didn’t buckle - in the past we might have gone under.
“But Hughes is just terrific in and around the box. We said to the players at half-time that if you lose concentration he’ll punish you and that happened.”
Indeed, after Hughes stabbed home his 69th-minute equaliser it looked like there would only be one winner.
But Wadsworth’s boys dug deep and still had enough left in the tank to mount a late rally.
And, when Andy Monkhouse smashed a 20-yard volley goalwards in the dying seconds, it looked as though Pools had stolen all three points.
County keeper Stuart Nelson had other ideas, though, and backpedalled to fingertip over the crossbar.
And Wadsworth, whose side remain 14th in League One, admits he thought the winger had won the game.
“The last quarter of an hour we came out a little bit and I thought there was half a chance we might go and win the game,” he added.
“Andy Monkhouse had a great effort late on and we thought it was flying in.
“With better luck Adam Boyd could have scored as well – the ball came flying through to him just as he got on the pitch and perhaps that was a little bit too soon for him.
“But I was pleased that we came back into the game and had a few decent chances to win it.”
Scorer Liddle broke the deadlock with a bandaged head having left the pitch just moments before his 38th-minute effort to receive treatment following a clash with County defender Krystan Pearce.
A dazed Liddle failed to emerge for the second half and Wadsworth says the Middlesbrough-born ace was a big miss.
“Gary was groggy and a little bit concussed at half-time and the medical staff were a bit worried about him so we had to take him off,” he explained.
“It was disappointing because he’d done really well and scored a great goal.
“That was a big factor in the second half and their midfielder Neal Bishop started to win a lot more balls and that was a starting point for them to put us under pressure.
“We dealt with that to an extent, although we did concede, and I have to say that overall I’m happy with the point.”
Pools don’t now play until next Tuesday when they travel to Oldham Athletic, who drew 1-1 at Walsall last night.
But the club’s second-string are in action this evening when they take on Middlesbrough at Victoria Park (kick off 7pm).
First-team squad members Scott Flinders, Adam Boyd, Fabian Yantorno, Denis Behan, Colin Larkin and Armann Bjornsson are all expected to feature.