Antony Sweeney admitted Hartlepool rode their luck (Martin Rickett/PA)
16 November 2021

Antony Sweeney admits Hartlepool rode their luck in FA Cup win at Wycombe

16 November 2021

Caretaker boss Antony Sweeney admitted Hartlepool had to ride their luck as they got the better of Sky Bet League One Wycombe 1-0 to book their place in the FA Cup second round.

The League Two side will now travel to Lincoln after Mark Cullen’s first-half strike saw them get the better of the Chairboys, who dominated large parts of the game.

And Sweeney acknowledged his team were always going to be up against it when facing a side from the league above.

He said: “This is a really difficult place to come. We always knew we would have to ride our luck a lot, probably a bit too much for our liking, but for 95 minutes defensively we put our bodies on the line and sometimes you deserve that little bit of luck. I suppose that’s cup football.

“We would have liked a bit more in possession, but we can’t match what Wycombe do. We don’t have the players, we haven’t got the height and physicality, so we needed to match what they were going to bring in certain aspects and then try and play a game of cup football.

“I thought at times we sort of did and we created a couple of chances.

“On another day we put them away, but we knew we would be on the back foot and thankfully the lads came through.

“Mark Cullen is in good form. He’s had to be patient, he’s been banging the door down for a chance and he’s been absolutely fantastic.”

In the second half in particular, Wycombe probably should have equalised, with Adebayo Akinfenwa, Sam Vokes and David Wheeler all coming close.

This cup defeat follows a sticky patch in the league, where Wycombe currently find themselves in the play-off places, but boss Gareth Ainsworth believes it is only a matter of time before his team put an opponent to the sword.

He said: “We’ve had chances and really there’s little threat from them, just two shots that were worrying and one of them went in.

“That’s the game sometimes. I’ve just said to the boys if there are little things you can improve on – and there are one or two little bits, I’m never going to say any names – but there are things we can improve on without a shadow of a doubt.

“Every team in the world can, Manchester City can, but it’s going to come. Without a shadow of a doubt. The only thing we can do now is focus on Bolton on Sunday.

“At some stage somebody is going to take a beating off us, these chances are going to go in. These opportunities that are coming will get scored.

“I’m gutted for the boys, they’re an unbelievable bunch and I have total belief in them.”

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