CRAIG HIGNETT has paid tribute to match-winners Josh Hawkes and Luke Molyneux after showing the composure to help Hartlepool United complete a remarkable comeback.

The Pools boss was delighted to witness his team recover from a poor start that saw them concede twice to roar back to record a fantastic 3-2 win over Dover Athletic with Molyneux striking the winner in stoppage-time.

Substitute Molyneux, the former Sunderland man, hit the winner to cap a pulsating second half for the home side who had to bounce back from two down for the second week in a row.

Dover made a bright start and Alfie Pavey fired them in front from close range in the 29th minute and they doubled their lead after 39 minutes when Jai Reason lashed in from distance.

Molyneux brought two decent saves from Lee Worgan and debutant defender David Edgar saw a header deflect onto the crossbar as the home side looked for a way back into the game.

Hartlepool were awarded a penalty with 20 minutes left when a Molyneux cross hit Bobby-Joe Taylor's hand. Hawkes stepped up and scored to offer hope.

Hawkes then should have levelled shortly before Pools won a second penalty in three minutes when James was brought down in the area. Hawkes calmly slotted in again to set the stage for Molyneux’s winner.

Hignett told the club website: “It’s easy to sum up – a bad first half and a good second half. We weren’t quite at it in the first half, it just wasn’t happening for us and we went for a spell – for ten or fifteen minutes it was the first time that we looked like we were going to go.

“Credit to the lads, we got them in at half-time and changed to a different system and we looked like a different team.

“I told the lads at half-time that if we got one goal that Dover could go, and they did because this is a tough place to come. When we got that goal we had the momentum and I fancied us to go on and win it.

“For Josh (Hawkes) to put the two penalties away the way he did is a great testament – he’s got a cool head on young shoulders.

“Then it was a brilliant finish from Luke Molyneux. I thought he made a real difference when he came on and he just passed it in to the corner, no panic about him.

“We had other chances too but when we’ve needed Scott Loach he’s come up with the goods as well so I was delighted with the lads in the second half and again that character that they showed.”

Hartlepool; Loach; Edgar (Amos 74), Kerr, Noble (Hawkins 90), Kitching (Molyneux 43), Anderson, Donaldson, Featherstone, Hawkes, James, Kabamba. Subs (not used): Muir, Catterick.