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MANAGER: We felt we could get some joy

Paul Simpson on the goals ... and a mad sprint from the keeper

10 October 2022

The quality of United’s finishing was matched by its ruthlessness in the second half at Hartlepool on Saturday, with Owen Moxon striking from midfield and Omari Patrick showing a predatory instinct as he netted a brace right in front of the travelling fans.

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Speaking about the trio of finishes after the game, manager Paul Simpson said: “It was another brilliant goal from Mox.

“He had another opportunity in the first half where he passed it when I thought he should have gone for it. I don’t think I even said anything to him at half time about that, maybe Gav did about getting his shot off, but we reminded all of them that if we’re going to get in that final third let’s at least work the keeper.

“Let’s make sure we hit the target and see what comes from it. When he struck it, I wasn’t sure it had enough power to get there, but it was obviously guided right.

“Again, that’s a scene like we had at Oldham last year with Morgan Feeney in terms of the celebrations at the end. Brilliant, absolutely fantastic for everybody.

“I think you can see it, Mox is playing and enjoying his football, that’s what he wants to do. He’s a real good honest lad the way he goes about it.

“It’s a massive change for him coming from being a UPS delivery driver to playing full time football and getting stuck into it. He lives his life properly, he’s in really good shape, he’ll get better and better hopefully.

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“I think he’s had a couple of weeks where he’s looked as if he’s just testing himself, he’s maybe trying a little bit too hard, but him and Callum in midfield were outstanding and I’m really pleased for him.”

And with Omari Patrick getting himself off the mark with a brace it turned from a one-goal deficit to a comfortable lead and a chance for everybody to see the game out to a successful conclusion.

“It’s great for him because he’s been desperate for that first goal,” the gaffer confirmed. “They were two really good finishes and we always felt that with the shape we were playing we would get a little bit of joy.

“There was room for balls over the top, Jordan Gibson had one in the first half, and him and Fin Back were getting two against one overloads. Jack Armer got forward really well before the break and Jack Stretton put an incredible shift in.

“He was probably a bit unfortunate because I think one of their lads pulled him back when he was going through. I don’t think the ref was brave enough to give the foul there because he would have had to send the player off. I’m just glad we got ourselves through to what is a really big win.

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“That’s him back, that’s him showing us what he’s about with his pace and going at players and getting the finish. I’m delighted for Omari and we now just keep our fingers crossed that it’s not a bad injury.”

The award for assist of the day has to go to Jordan Gibson for a pinpoint pass to Patrick that, two touches later, was in the back of the net.

“Gibbo has probably had grief, no, not so much grief, but more conversations with me where I’m talking about his game over the last few weeks because I’m trying to encourage him to be positive and to be a bit more productive,” the United boss revealed.

“He was really close to being outstanding in this game. He did a lot of good things and he worked his socks off. One thing I’ve questioned with him has been his work ethic, but I thought he ran himself into the ground. That was the same with everybody else.

“He’s got that ability. He’s just got to go and start showing it week in week out. I’ve had loads of conversations with him about getting him to realise what ability he has and what he needs to do to be a very, very good player.

“He stuck to it and I was pleased with him when he went to right wing back. It gave me the chance to put Edmo on as another forward player. It would have been easy to be a bit more negative, but I thought no, it’s a game we’ve got to go and win, we want to go and win, it’s there to win, and thankfully we got the rewards.”

Not to be left out, a sprint the full length of the pitch from keeper Tomas Holy got him centre stage billing for the celebrations after his intelligent throw gave Gibson the time he needed to pick the aforementioned pass.

“I’ve been questioning them all about their running stats, so I think he’s hoping his GPS is going to pick it up,” Simmo joked. “He has zero high speed in every game, so he might get a notch on that.

“But that shows what it meant to everybody. It’s a really big win. Let’s make sure we take it on from here now.”

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