VETERAN goal hero Ritchie Humphreys insists that only the result mattered at Bury last night – and not a pretty performance or personal glory.
As it was, the 34-year-old was able to enjoy the latter when his cute headed effort helped Pools to a 2-1 win to banish the torment of Saturday’s 5-0 embarrassment at Wycombe Wanderers.
Humphreys said: “We can play better, but it showed the right reaction to what was a very poor performance.
“It was all about getting a win and responding.
“We had to show why we have done so well this season and we did that.
“Everyone feels better about themselves now because it was all about the result.
“The whole 11 was unrecognisable on Saturday – we had to show it was a one-off.
“People who played on Saturday were chomping at the bit to put it right and it was a great team display – we’ll enjoy this win.”
Humphreys’ goal – his 37th for the club – was a timely contribution, breaking the deadlock right on half-time.
He looked back: “We were ringing the edge of the box, myself, Paul Murray and Jack Baldwin.
“Peter Hartley said ‘keep it solid, only a minute to go’, but I saw Neil Austin pull it onto his left foot and made the run to the near post – if you don’t make them runs then you won’t score and sometimes you’ve got gamble.
“I managed to get a flick on it and it was one those which just sneaked inside the post.
“You can get too much on them sometimes and they loop away for a goal-kick, but I got it just right.”
Adam Boyd doubled the lead, but Pools were made to withstand heavy pressure when David Worrall sparked hope of a comeback with a tidy lob 10 minutes from full-time.
“It was a little bit nervy towards the end and it was disappointing to concede,” he went on, “But we were resolute in five minutes of injury time and we saw it out in a professional manner.”
Pools had been by a distance the better side – Tony Sweeney had gone close with a header, Peter Hartley also, while Andy Monkhouse had threatened with a clever curler from range.
Neil Austin swept a ball into the danger zone from the right.
Humphreys, vacating the safety of his central-midfield post, gambled on his team-mate’s delivery.
Humphreys applied the merest of touches and watched in delight as the ball skipped up off the greasy turf and found its home in the bottom corner.
Boyd’s goal was a poacher’s finish, the striker seizing upon a bouncing ball inside a crowded penalty area before hooking low into the back of the net.
Bury responded when a routine ball forward was seized upon by Worrall and he finished with aplomb.
Bury: Carson, Picken, Skarz, Hughes, Eastham, Worrall, Schumacher, Carrington (John-Lewis), Coke (Amoo), Bishop (Grella), Elford-Alliyu. Subs: Branagan, Sweeney.
Hartlepool United: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Horwood, Baldwin, Hartley, Humphreys, Monkhouse, Sweeney, Murray, Brown (Boyd). Subs: Rafferty, Haslam, Johnson, Nish.
Ref: Lewis Att: 2,072.