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League Two

Mickey Lewis lauds Oxford United display

22 March 2014

Caretaker manager Mickey Lewis was delighted to be able to sign off with a win after David Connolly's 78th-minute header brought Oxford United a 1-0 victory over Hartlepool United at the Kassam Stadium.

It was Lewis's 12th and final game in temporary charge after U's chairman Ian Lenagan announced that a new boss will be appointed over the weekend.

Lewis said: "It was nice to sign off with a win and it was a good all-round performance from everyone.

"We'd said in the week that although as a team we work hard, we need to work even harder, and we went a little bit back to basics.

"A big plus for me was the closing down and the effort everyone put in, and we made some very good defensive decisions.

"It would have been nice to be a bit more comfortable towards the end of the game because we had a couple of very good chances."

James Constable and Alfie Potter squandered great chances to put Oxford out of sight in the last 10 minutes after Connolly's breakthrough goal.

U's fans chanted Lewis's name at the end in appreciation of the commitment he has put in since Chris Wilder walked out on the club in January.

"I really thank the supporters for the fantastic reception they gave me at the end,`` said Lewis.

"Hopefully we can kick on with this result and a new manager coming in will give us a spark.

"I'm really looking forward to working with the new manager, but like everyone else, I don't know yet who it is."

The result was a blow to Hartlepool's hopes of reaching the play-offs.

Their cause was not helped by Simon Walton getting sent off for a second yellow card in the 75th minute when he brought down Sean Rigg.

Pools boss Colin Cooper said: "I just didn't think we quite reached the heights of last Saturday in terms of tempo, and the manner of the defeat was frustrating.

"David Connolly's movement around the box is very good but I'll need to look at the tape of the game to see who he peeled off and who should have gone with him.

"The sending-off was even more frustrating. When it's not your night the one thing you have to do is keep players on the pitch.

"We had nine opportunities to get the points we need to qualify for the play-offs before tonight, now we've got eight opportunities.

"I thought at half-time Oxford didn't have a lot more to throw at us.

"We weren't quite good enough in the final quarter either, but they weren't really threatening us until a couple of rash challenges changed everything because it was a stupid free-kick to give away for the goal as well.

"We had a mad five-minute spell with the yellow for the red card. I've said to the players, in situations like that, we've got to learn to somehow stay calm."

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