WITH his first goal for the club in the bag and a swift journey home after the game, Evan Horwood couldn’t be happier.

The left-back scored for Hartlepool United in Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Northampton Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, his first goal since scoring for Gretna at Morton in January, 2008.

It’s been a long wait for a goal, but waiting around is something he doesn’t have to think about any more.

Four minutes is all it takes to get from Victoria Park to his Seaton Carew home, a little bit shorter than the 90- minute cross-country trek he endured last season to Carlisle.

At least the drive doesn’t give him chance to stew over results, not a bad thing after last weekend’s 5-0 humbling by Sheffield Wednesday.

And, ahead of this lunchtime’s televised game at MK Dons, the 24-year-old admitted: “Tuesday was an absolutely brilliant result.

“It took a while to get the first goal but once we got it, which we deserved, we got a few more.

“I said to the lads after the game that I tried to hit it hard and low and it sat up and ended up being a good goal.

“I was very happy about that.’’ Not content with scoring, two minutes later he played Antony Sweeney in for a quick-fire second, with a routine off the Maiden Castle training pitches.

“We’ve been working on free-kicks on the training ground loads and Sweeney had been complaining because I’d been shooting all the time,’’ he said. “I set him up on Tuesday night and we got a goal out of it. That was Mick Wadsworth’s idea so I will give Mick that one.’’ Pools saw off Northampton after conceding eight times without reply in their previous two games, with Wigan and Wednesday.

“It’s been a bit of a strange over the last two games,’’ he reflected. “Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday probably only had about ten shots on target between them and they scored eight goals.

“I don’t think the results reflected the way the games went.

“We definitely should have lost against Sheffield Wednesday, they were a very good team who will do well this season.

“But overall we’ve tried to put the last two games to bed and the Northampton game showed what we can do.

“Like I say, Sheffield Wednesday was just a strange one. I blinked and we were 3-0 down.

“They had people come off the bench who have played at the highest level but we have put that to bed now and we can concentrate on Saturday and MK Dons, who can be absolutely brilliant or terrible.

“Hopefully, on Saturday they can be terrible and we can be brilliant.’’ Away form to date for Pools has been solid, with a draw at Rochdale and a win at Yeovil bringing four League One points.

Positive results have been all too rare on the road in recent seasons and Horwood admitted: “It was definitely important to stop the rot and get another clean sheet.

“That’s first and foremost.

The three midfielders we’ve got in front of the back four, were brilliant again when we played Northampton.

“If we can keep them solid and keep a clean sheet we will always get a goal out of Boydy or Browny.

“The lads tell me the away form hasn’t been too clever over the last few years but to get any kind of result on Saturday would be brilliant.

“We’ve got to go into the game thinking we can get three points. But if we get a point, brilliant, we would still be unbeaten away from home.

“If we can get a bit of consistency I think we’ve got a really good team.

“I think the starting XI is brilliant and I don’t think there is much difference between us and the Carlisle team that got to the final last season.

“It’s just about being a bit more consistent really and picking up results when you are down and not playing well.

“I think that’s the key to it really, when you aren’t playing well to nick a result away from home.

“The way we played against Northampton was absolutely brilliant, as good as it ever was for Carlisle.

“When I was at Carlisle we battered MK Dons a few times, in one game we went 3-0 up, they brought it back to 3-3 and we nicked it at the end to make it 4-3.

“We know what MK Dons are like, they can be absolutely brilliant or they can be terrible.

“But it’s up to us really. If we can keep ourselves solid and difficult to beat I think we will do alright.’’