Blyth Spartans boss Michael Nelson 'very pleased' with Hartlepool United win - and reserves praise for ex-Newcastle United man

Blyth Spartans manager Michael Nelson.Blyth Spartans manager Michael Nelson.
Blyth Spartans manager Michael Nelson.
Blyth Spartans manager Michael Nelson declared himself “very happy” with his side’s performance in their 2-1 win against Hartlepool United.

Goals from Jordan Hickey and JJ O’Donnell helped Spartans become the third National League North club to inflict a defeat on the League Two newcomers inside the last week.

A late own-goal gave Pools a chance to mount a comeback at Croft Park but Spartans held on and got due reward for an organised and disciplined performance.

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Several of Nelson’s players caught the eye but the Spartans boss preferred to praise his entire squad as they picked up a third win in four pre-season games.

He told The Leader: “I said to the lads against South Shields on Saturday and against Hartlepool that I wanted to be pleased after both games.

“They were brilliant, off-the-ball and defensively, we dealt with Hartlepool very well.

“When we won the ball, we put them under pressure on the break and looked dangerous.

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“We scored two very good goals and we kept pressuring them after we made a number of substitutes.

“Maybe people felt it would be the other way around and Pools would come on to us, but I thought the whole squad did very well.

“I am very happy with the performance.”

Nelson reserved praise for the performance of former Newcastle United academy striker Lewis McNall after he made his first start in front of the Croft Park faithful.

The 22-year-old frontman put in an industrious 45-minute display and played a key role in his side’s first goal of the game with a neat lay-off for midfielder Hickey.

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McNall was forced off at half-time with a heel injury – but had still done enough to impress his new manager.

“I thought Lewis McNall was brilliant in the first-half.

“We had to take him off at half-time because he has a little issue with his heel, but it’s just an impact injury and we just have to nurse him through it on the hard ground.

“He held the ball up really well, he made some good runs for our midfielders, and he played a big part in the first goal.

“It was a pleasing performance.”

Spartans are back in action on Saturday when they visit Northern Premier League newcomers Hebburn Town.