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League Two

James Beattie sets Accrington Stanley survival target

12 March 2014

Accrington Stanley boss James Beattie has set his side a target of 52 points to stay up this season.

Stanley are 11 points off that number after their goalless draw with Hartlepool United, on a night when both sides lacked a cutting edge.

"The league is so tight and I think it will take about 52 points this season for safety," said Beattie.

"This is a point towards our target. The good thing for us is our destiny is in our own hands and we can only concentrate on ourselves.

"We have to take the positives out of this performance, which is a clean sheet and a battling, gutsy performance. But it wasn't a spectacular game.

"What we are is hard to beat. We are resilient but we just needed that bit of quality and we could have had all three points.

"Tom Aldred and Dean Winnard have been outstanding in defence for us and have formed a great partnership. We also have a strong bench where we have match winners."

Hartlepool manager Colin Cooper was happy with a point after successive defeats on their travels prior to their arrival at the Crown Ground.

"We have got to be happy with a point and a clean sheet," said Cooper. "We did fancy ourselves to nick it but I think James Beattie will have thought the same.

"Defences were on top, both sides were well-organised, neither goalkeeper had a real save to make and both sides were lacking in the final third.

"The challenge on Tuesday night was to keep a clean sheet, come away with something and see where it takes us - and we have.

"I am not disappointed although, if we are to close the gap to the play-offs, at this stage of the season, we do need wins."

Both sides lacked the spark needed to win the game.

Relegation-threatened Stanley played for an hour with 10 men on Saturday in their win over title-chasing Chesterfield and it took its toll.

Both sides conjured up few chances with neither goalkeeper having a save to make.

Hartlepool, who are chasing a play-off spot, had the better of the early exchanges but Simon Walton could not test keeper Marcus Bettinelli with two long-range efforts.

Striker Jonathan Franks also had a free header for Pool but could only guide it into Bettinelli's arms.

Stanley had spells of pressure with Saturday's hat-trick hero Lee Molyneux firing a 20-yard free-kick just over the crossbar while Will Hatfield's goalbound strike was deflected into the side netting.

After the break midfielder Josh Windass had two fierce efforts which were narrowly over the bar as Stanley looked for a breakthrough.

Substitute Kal Naismith had a chance from six yards out but it rolled into goalkeeper Scott Flinders' hands as both sides had to settle for a point.

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