HARTLEPOOL UNITED moved to three points of the play-off zone with a solid win over Stockport County.

After back to back draws away from home, manager Dave Challinor demanded his side returned home with a positive outcome.

And thanks to goals from Aidan Keena and Mark Shelton, both recently signed by the Pools boss, they saw off County.

After losing at Edgeley Park earlier in the season, then  Pools boss Craig Hignett was axed.

Now, with 14 National League games to go, there’s a slice of optimism around Victoria Park.

County started the game with intensity as they worked hard, but were unable to keep their workrate up.

Gavan Holohan’s low angled shot was pushed out by keeper Ben Hinchliffe, with Aidan Keena flagged offside as he followed up.

Keeper Mitch Beeney spilled a harmless cross and Elliot Osborne’s header was looping in before impressive debutant Macauley Southam-Hales cleared.

Pools took the lead on 31 minutes. Mark Shelton cross from the right and Aidan Keena was in the six-yard box to knock home.

On 52 minutes they did doubled their lead. Gime Toure pulled the ball back, and it was laid off for Shelton to curl a low shot in from the edge of the area.

County missed two free-headers to reduce the gap and Beeney made some saves from long-range efforts, but it was somewhat comfortable in the end.

Pools: Beeney; Southam-Hailes, Odusina, Liddle, Kitching; Featherstone, Shelton, Holohan; Donaldson, Keena (Mafuta 87), Toure (Molyneux 90). Subs (not used): Muir, Hawkes, Anderson.

Stockport: Hincfliffe; Cowan, Palmer, Arthur, Clarke (Bell 46); Keane, Turnbull (McAlinden 70); Thomas, Osborne, Archer (Minihan 65); Lloyd.  Subs (not used): Ormson, Walker.

Referee: Karl Evans (Manchester)