Antony Sweeney’s super strike seals point for Hartlepool United

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ANTONY Sweeney hopes his wonder strike against Sheffield Wednesday – possibly his best ever – signals a change of luck in front of goal.

Last year’s top goalscorer and player-of-the-season had netted just twice before the weekend and admitted things weren’t falling his way in front of the posts.

So when he connected with a 25-yard volley in search of a late equaliser against the Owls, he never dreamt it would find the back of the net in such breathtaking fashion.

“I never felt it was always going in,” he said, reflecting on the goal-of-the-season contender which earned a 2-2 draw for Neale Cooper’s men.

“The ball bounced up for me. My options were to knock it past the defender and run, but I’m not that quick, or hit it first time.

“The lads said they could see it was in all the way, but goals haven’t been coming too easy for me this season, so I wanted to wait until it hit the back of the net before I started celebrating.

“I’ve lost that feeling from when you score and it was a bit of a mad 30 seconds after it went in.

“But hopefully, that is the change of luck I needed and things will start to happen for me in terms of goals, because I’ll always put myself in those positions.”

Pools had taken the lead two minutes after the break through Peter Hartley, who muscled his way on to Evan Horwood’s swirling corner-kick to head home.

Moments later, however, he was writhing in agony on the turf, his shoulder taking the full force of a heavy fall.

He battled on but could only watch in despair as Jermaine Johnson wriggled free of Horwood all too easily before drilling an equaliser into the bottom corner.

And it was Hartley who was guilty of the glaring error which led to Wednesday stealing an undeserved lead, his feeble clearance presenting Madine with the chance to blast home 15 minutes from the end.

Sheff Wed: Weaver, Otsemobor, Batth, Rob Jones (Llera 65), Reda Johnson (Jermaine Johnson 46), Buxton, Semedo, Lines, Mike Jones (Lowe 55), O’Grady, Madine. Subs Not Used: Bywater, Morrison. Goals: Jermaine Johnson 58, Madine 75.

Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Liddle, Murray (Humphreys 68), Haslam (Brown 80), Sweeney, James, Monkhouse. Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Boyd, Baldwin. Booked: Hartley, Horwood, Liddle. Goals: Hartley 47, Sweeney 87.

Att: 17,469 Ref: Gavin Ward (Surrey).