JAMES Poole hailed a “massive win” for Hartlepool United at Portsmouth after scoring during his first start since November.

The 22-year-old has not featured from the off since John Hughes’ first game in charge more than two months ago.

But Poole responded to his return to the line-up at Fratton Park with his side’s second en route to a 3-1 triumph.

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The result takes Pools to within five points of secondbottom Pompey, and the importance of the outcome was not lost on the forward.

“It was a massive win for us,” he said.

“When you keep on losing it gets to you mentally and it affects you. But we saw on Saturday how we all worked for each other.

“The subs who came on worked so hard for us and it was a real team effort.”

Poole’s flat-mate, Jack Baldwin, had opened the scoring with his second in as many matches.

“I’ve taught Jack a couple of things on finishing,” laughed Poole.

“When he got that first he moved ahead of me for the season, so I thought I best stick one in.”

And stick one in he did, racing clear of the Pompey backline before lifting nonchalantly into the top corner on 52 minutes.

He reflected: “I had a bit too much time – they are often the hardest ones because everything goes through your mind.

“It just shows I work hard in training and I do everything at match tempo – when you do that it pays dividends at the weekend.”

Pools now face Notts County at Victoria Park on Saturday, and Poole knows what has to be done.

“We have to follow this up now,” he said. “We’ll enjoy the win but our focus is the game next week.

“This is only one win, we need to progress.”

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