HARTLEPOOL United kept alive their faint hopes of League One survival as an Andy Monkhouse double helped them to a 2-0 win over 10-man Bury, writes Chris Young.
Monkhouse’s headed opener brought to an end a goal drought which had been extended to 12 hours, 41 minutes and 28 seconds.
And the 32-year-old made sure of the points with a second header 18 minutes from time.
The victory – a first in nine matches – takes Pools above Bury in the drop zone and moves them to within five points of safety with three matches remaining.
John Hughes’ men had started brightly and a combination of Efe Sodje and the post denied Simon Walton a fifth-minute opener.
The Pools midfielder directed on goal from 20 yards only for the recovering defender to flick the effort up onto the upright before scrambling clear.
It was end-to-end stuff and Andy Bishop saw a close-range blast deflected wide by Peter Hartley before Charlie Wyke, stretching to reach Darren Holden’s centre, headed onto the roof of the net for Pools.
The game wasn’t yet 10 minutes old when Bury forward Nicky Ajose raced clear on goal only to flash wide from 12 yards.
After a half-hour lull, the period ended in frenetic fashion.
Monkhouse got his goal with a six-yard nod from a Jonathan Franks corner before Bury frontman Craig Fagan was given his marching orders for what looked a stray elbow on Darren Holden.
And, in injury-time, Franks spurned a glorious opportunity to double the advantage when firing wide of an open goal.
Pools, though, made a sluggish start to the second half and Bishop blazed over the crossbar from just six yards out as the 10 men pressed for a leveller.
Luke James, making his first league start of the campaign, had a chance to double the advantage on the hour mark but, having been sprung clear by Franks, fired straight at Cameron Belford.
Monkhouse, though, made no mistake for his second on 72 minutes, dashing across his minder to connect with Franks’ centre and steer a crisp header into the bottom corner.