JON MCCARTHY admits last season’s Chester side would in all likelihood have crumbled under the pressure they were under at Hartlepool.
Craig Harrison’s Pools’ outfit put Chester under relentless pressure for a long periods in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Victoria Park, after James Akintunde’s first-minute opener was cancelled out by Jake Cassidy’s equaliser.
It was a real backs-to-the-wall rearguard from the Blues – Hartlepool hitting the bar three times – and boss McCarthy accepts his squad from the end of last campaign may have emerged without a share of the spoils.
“Last season we’ve lost 3-0 at Gateshead, we’ve lost 3-2 at Barrow, we’ve shipped four at Maidstone, so I was all about making us tough to beat,” he said.
“We come here, their bench have a go at the referee and their crowd gets up. All of a sudden there’s five minutes on the board, we have that extra bit go against us and it's a battle.
“Of course the lads are disappointed in there, they’re disappointed we couldn’t hang on at the end.
“But the work rate, desire and unity is there, people want to play for his shirt, this badge, this set of supporters. I told you I’d give you that and I think you can see that.
“The crowd, it’s a massive thing here away at Hartlepool. Tactically we’ve worked hard at it and looked to stop other teams initially.
“The run we went on last year, we’ve started that quicker this year and we’ve only conceded twice and we’ve not lost.
“We had an extra week of training to get further ahead, we've been robbed of our first game at Solihull, not ideal, so all of a sudden we’re in against two boys, then away at Hartlepool and home to Sutton.
“We’ve had a good fixture dragged away from us so we put our efforts into being in this better position. We’re just getting on with it and the hand we've been dealt. Three points is the next bit because we’re frustrated in there, but I’m a content, relaxed, happy mananger.”
Goalkeeper Conor Mitchell produced a string of fine saves to preserve Chester’s third successive point, although McCarthy felt the on-loan Burnley stopper was barged out of the way by Cassidy for the hosts’ leveller.
“We feel it's a foul,” he continued. “He’s a keeper who has done exceptionally well, I think he's saved a couple of those off the bars and they are saying there's some kind of foul in there but I’d have to see it again.
“To only concede one goal away here is a good performance and I'd rather focus on the positives, some of our bits of play and how resolute we were.
“We’re part-time, we have less sessions, so I make us difficult to beat and then add some of the extra stuff. It’s all going to plan, of course it would’ve been nice if it were three points but it's good at the moment.”
McCarthy highlighted the dislays of Akintunde, Ross Hannah and Craig Mahon, adding: “Ross is that bit sharper, Craig Mahon too, we’ve nutured that and managed it well and they look better and better.
“James has backed that up and put the goal away. Ross’ finish for the second one that was offside, what a finish that is, so there’s more to come and lots of positives.”
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