A POINT at home to Boreham Wood in the National League. It shouldn’t be, in the grand scheme of things, cause for celebration.

Such is the state of Hartlepool United right now, the result was welcome.

Players were applauded off, their efforts appreciated. It’s been a rare event in recent seasons.

But Pools, to the credit, did put the effort in. There was plenty of blood and snot on show at Victoria Park from those in blue and white. Honesty, application and effort is welcomed aplenty by the home crowd. It always is, but the problem is that it hasn’t been on show much.

In two games in a matter of days, Pools have upper their performances and looked a bit more organised and solid. They’ve only got one point to show for their efforts, but that return has actually lifted them further away from the drop zone.

There’s every chance that Matthew Bates will remain in caretaker charge in the coming weeks, certainly at least until any takeover happens.

He has changed the outlook a bit and said: “We have tried to put some belief in the players, there has been an improvement. But this is a point, in terms of performances it’s been good, but we only have one point from it. We start again on Monday and they only we to get more is to play with more pride, determination – all those buzz words.

“We take it game by game, I’m caretaker here and want as many points on the board as possible – win as many games as we can.

“We try to simplify things and have we made it clearer for them. Is it morale or togetherness – we have put two good shifts in against two good sides. We need to carry it on into next week.’’

He admitted: “The squad has been questioned in terms of character and they have responded in recent weeks. No-one likes a manager being sacked on their watch so maybe that’s kicked them in the backside. There are good players in there and it’s about getting the confidence out of them.’’

Pools were reduced to ten men for the last 25 minutes or so, Scott Harrison sent off for a second yellow card.

Once he picked up the first just before half-time, you would have got short odds on a second to follow.

He got involved with Bruno Andrade and raised his hands to the niggly attacker, who went down pole-axed, desperately hoping referee Peter Wright would send Harrison off.

Andrade spent the next few minutes getting into Harrison’s psyche. Standing in front of him, touching him, mouthing off.

Harrison, the next time he had a chance, was ready to wipe him out and send him into next week. Instead, Andrade slipped past him and should have scored, but blasted over.

The Wood were a niggly side, who played with an attitude. Morgan Ferrier apparently told Pools’ skipper Carl Magnay to ‘google him’ to discover how good he was.

Apparently, he is 23-years-old, from North London, signed for The Wood from Dagenham and Redbridge and once had a trial at Bolton Wanderers.

When Harrison and Angelo Balanta chased a ball, they pushed and pulled. Harrison probably more so. Referee Wright didn’t show a card straight away, and while he delayed the visitors surrounded him, waved the imaginary yellow cards and Harrison was sent-off.

Bates admitted: “I felt we would do well to get a point after going a man down, I felt it was a red card to be honest, I was quite close to it, he was pulling and a bit of 50-50, but he was tugging.

“It’s a bit of concentration with him and he has to learn from it as it’s a problem for him since he came to the club – we have to work on it.’’

On came Louis Laing in defence and, alongside the assured and capable Liam Donnelly, the pair were solid enough – Laing much improved on his last outing.

Donnelly made a vital last-gasp block to prevent defeat, while Pools were also reliant on keeper Scott Loach to keep a first clean sheet since November 24, some 15 games ago.

Loach was more commanding in his area and a late save from Balanta was described as ‘world class’ by visiting boss Luke Garrard, who added: “I cannot question the endeavour and commitment - we came to Hartlepool United which is still a big club at this level, we had the better chances.’’

They did have the best chances, and plenty of them. Pools were thankful that the visitors’ finishing was as bad as their gamesmanship and attitude.