PRIDE is being restored to Hartlepool United Football Club.

The ignominy of relegation, and the pitiful start to the season have been turned around.

Two weeks earlier the club hit a real low point in losing at home to AFC Fylde. Three games on, nine points in the bag, there’s a unity about the place.

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Fans and players are one again. As Pools saw out victory against the team who started the day top of the table, the Victoria Park faithful cheered their heroes to the end.

The players were given a standing ovation at the end; from brickbats to bouquets in 14 days.

“Fylde was the straw that broke the camel’s back and we knew we have to run more, tackle, outbattle the opposition,’’ reflected boss Craig Harrison.

Make no mistake, Pools looked nothing like a team as they crumbled to Fylde. On Saturday they showed plenty of good characteristics in victory.

They weren’t as attractive as they were in beating Maidstone, not as ugly as they were in winning at Guiseley. They showed spirit, and a willingness to work hard.

Harrison summed it up: “From the first whistle I felt the lads put their bodies on the line and worked hard, maybe looked a bit tired after 60—65 minutes, but then to kick on and get the goal and hold on, it wasn’t a classic – but it was a classic defensive performance.

“Centre-halves blocked, full-backs stopped crosses, midfielders won second balls, wingers have closed down and ran in behind – get the ugly things right and we have the quality to win games.’’

Just like against Maidstone, those traits were vital.

In defender Keith Watson, Pools have landed a real steadying influence at the back. He defends simply and effectively. The mistakes which blighted Pools at the back in the early games are no more.

Watson would rather put the ball in the stand to clear his lines than try and make a pass and put his team in trouble.

Alongside him, loan signing Michael Ledger stood firm against a very strong opponent in Morgan Ferrier. The striker was strong and used his frame well. Ledger, on loan from Sunderland, will have learned more from this game than he would in a dozen academy matches.

With seconds of four minutes added on time remaining, he flung himself of a goalbound shot to preserve the lead.

Behind those two, and Scott Loach was superb again. The goalkeeper made a number of fine and important stops at key times, just like he has in the two previous victories.

“I expect the keeper to make those saves and no doubt it is top, top class,’’ said Harrison. “When I say he should be making those saves, I say it tongue in cheek. I appreciate him, one of the first signings I made. He’s a leader in the dressing room and again we counted on him on occasions.

“It’s no coincidence we pick points up when the keeper has been different class.’’

It’s Easter 2016 since Pools last won three in a row. Their next two games will proved them with stern tests, at Wrexham tomorrow and Orient on Saturday.

But Pools, on current showing, will present plenty of problems themselves.

Jonathan Franks made it three in three games since rejoining the club; a fine goal it was too.

Left-back and creator Nicky Deverdics played the ball over the top of the opposition defence, Franks got in behind them.

As Mark Cousins raced off his line, Franks got out his lob wedge to lift the ball high over the advancing keeper. The ball took an age to drop inside the side netting.

Franks is suited to this system and Harrison added: “He had three in three and assists too – he’s been very good. We can afford to stick in games and being ugly and horrible when people like him can score a half-chance.

“An average player will score one, two of them out of ten, but he put it away. It took an age to drop in, but was it in, was it going in, it eventually did, goal.’’

With the midfield three of Nicky Featherstone, Lewis Hawkins and Michael Woods setting the tempo for Pools, as their pressing game denied the division’s leaders time and space, Pools had a strong base.

The trio were part of last season’s misery, but look refreshed under Harrison’s game plan.

The Pools of early season would have lost this one, any by some distance. There’s a different mentality about the place now.