STOP the clocks, erect a hard border on the Headland and impose tax on fish and chips in Seaton Carew: an entertaining game of football broke out at Hartlepool United on Saturday.

It has happened all too rarely at the Super 6 Stadium in recent years. It looked a million years away from happening last month, but now the future appears a little brighter at the club.

The Richard Money stint (it wasn’t long enough to call it an era) is over, with Craig Hignett back in charge.

From the morose to the memorable in the space of three weeks.

Pools season started with promise and hope, tilted off balance, dropped off Blackhall Rocks and now shows signs of climbing back up to respectability.

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And all the time Pools looked for a manager, found one in Money and then floundered under him, they had the right man at the club all along.

The then director of football Hignett said he wanted to be a manager again, with ambitions to get on the training ground with players and improve them.

He’s done that in a few weeks. Perhaps not so much improving their ability, but more their willingness and outlook so far. A smile and a pat on the back goes a long way in football.

Pools, from the off against Orient, were committed and positive. They were applauded throughout for their efforts, and clapped off at the end – a rare event in itself.

It was only a point, and no-one is getting carried away, but the performance spoke volumes about the change in outlook around the club.

“The crowd were great,’’ said Hignett. “I said last week if we give our all and the lads run about the thunder into tackles, then the crowd will appreciate it. If we had lost that game then everyone still goes home knowing we have had a go and it was a proper game of football.

“They are the games I want to win – play well and excite the crowd. It gives everyone a boost and you have to put performances in to get the crowd behind you.

“The personal stuff (aimed at players) has been an issue, but we haven’t had any of that for weeks because performances have been what they wanted to see. Now we have to replicate it, especially at home.’’

Home form has been the bane of Pools’ life for years now. They lose more than they win, concede more than they score and it’s going to take more than a win over Braintree and a draw with league leaders Orient to turn it around.

But the outlook is better. Pools are tackling, running at the opposition and defending with a willingness to defend.

The manager added: “We had two weeks off and I feel we would have played that way at Ebbsfleet, but the break hasn’t affected us too much. We were positive and it felt like a proper game of football. They are no mugs and will probably end up being promoted this season.

“Braintree beat Salford and it shows what this division is like, teams have quality and you could see the quality Orient have.’’

The Os also possessed a savvy outlook and were especially adept at manhandling in the penalty area. Peter Kioso hit the deck regularly as he was grappled to the floor with the referee happy for it to happen.

When Pools did get a penalty, there was no doubt after Luke James went from penalty area to penalty area and drew three Orient defenders into him.

“We got a penalty, but Matt Harrold is an experienced player and every time Peter went in the area there was a headlock or an arm around him – a bear hug on three or four occasions,’’ spotted Hignett. “The fourth official knew about it and the referee said he wasn’t fouling him, but just putting his arms out to stop him getting past.

“It’s frustrating because it wasn’t just one or twice it was four or five. We got a stonewall penalty, could have had two or three.

“I didn’t think Myles (Anderson) should have had a penalty in the second half, but Josh (Hakwes) could have first half. All you want is consistency.’’

Liam Noble, back from injury, took it but it was too simple for Dean Brill to save. He won’t be taking them anymore after his third miss of the season.

Hawkes will be given the responsibility after he netted one last time out. The young midfielder fits into Hignett’s moult and he’s another who wasn’t trusted by previous managers.

One early second-half run was especially exciting, but he ran out of steam and composure as he shot low and weakly into Brill. The finish will come with more experience.

Hignett concluded: “It’s encouraging for me, there’s a group of players who listen and do that you want from them. You can see how we are trying to play, what we want to be, and they have bought into it. The way we are trying to play suits the players.’’