MATCHWINNER Scott Harrison believes the “unbelievable turnaround” will go down as one of THE greatest escapes – if Hartlepool United can pull it off.
Harrison’s 67th-minute volley – the former Sunderland defender’s first ever professional goal – secured the club’s fourth consecutive victory.
The 2-1 win over Cambridge United elevated Pools to the dizzy heights of third-bottom spot in League Two, with Pools finally moving off the foot of the table after five months.
Victory at a buoyant Victoria Park capped off a remarkable run of recent results – a fortnight ago, Pools were nine points adrift of safety.
“This would be the greatest escape of the lot,” said centre-back Harrison.
“From where we were a few weeks back to where we are now – it has been an unbelievable turnaround.
“The teams above us, they have not been where we have been and now two of them are in the relegation zone.
“We are out of it and they might not be able to deal with it in the way that we did – hopefully they won’t.
“This win is massive for the club, for everyone.
“Now we are out of the relegation zone and the win last week (against Mansfield Town) gave us that chance. Now we have taken the chance, which we hadn’t done all season.”
Indeed, Pools had spent 25 games propping up the rest of League Two but with seven games to go, they are now a point ahead of the bottom two.
Harrison signed a permanent deal from Sunderland in January, having spent two previous loan spells at Pools.
While he wasn’t involved in Sunderland’s own Great Escape last season, he admits this one would mean much more to him on a personal level.
Middlesbrough-born Harrison added: “I didn’t really get involved at Sunderland, I was more in the reserve team.
“Now I am totally involved and this is my life as well.
“It means a lot more here, than it did there.”
Harrison’s first goal in professional football couldn’t have come at a better time either – not that the no-nonsense defender could remember much about it.
From a Jonathan Franks corner, the ball fell to Harrison, who took a touch before volleying it past Chris Dunn.
It proved a crucial strike.
Brad Walker’s first-half header gave Pools the lead before Matt Harrold equalised from a tight angle as the sides went into the break level.
Boss Ronnie Moore has previously admitted he had considered pushing Harrison up front, given his impressive strike rate on the training pitch.
Harrison added: “It was my first ever goal, but I can’t remember too much about it!
“It hit me and then landed perfectly to hit it. I just went for it and the ball flew in.
“I have played up front a couple of times for previous clubs and in training they are always screaming at me to get back because I am always wandering off up front!”
HARTLEPOOL: Flinders, Harrison, Mirfin, D Jones, Austin, Walker, Featherstone, Tshibola (Hawkins 80), Duckworth, Franks, Hugill (Harewood 87). Subs not used: Maxted, Nelson-Addy, Richards, Smith, J Jones. Booked: Walker. Goals: Walker 20, Harrison 67
CAMBRIDGE UTD: Dunn, Tait (Simpson 69), Miller, Coulson, Dunk, Donaldson, Champion, Hughes, Hunt (KaiKai 76), Elliott, Harrold (Slew 77). Subs not used: Lanzoni, Norris, Nelson, Morrissey. Goal: Harrold 32
Ref: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear).