ARGYLE point-saver Matt Kennedy nearly missed his moment of magic that earned the Pilgrims a 1-1 draw in the north east.
The 23-year-old Scot produced another devastating finish for his third goal in as many games as Argyle came from behind at the Northern Gas and Power Stadium to maintain their Sky Bet League Two promotion push.
“I was kind of a doubt to play,” he said, after his 77th-minute right-foot rocket levelled Pools’ first-half opener from Rhys Oates which came against the run of play. It followed a similar goal in the Pilgrims’ home midweek defeat by Leyton Orient.
“I had pulled a muscle in my back just after the game against Orient. On Friday night, I couldn’t move in my bed; I was really struggling. I ’phoned the physio and said ‘I don’t think I’m going to make the game’ but I’ve been taking painkillers and obviously it paid off.”
And how. The goal was every bit as valuable to Argyle’s ambitions as his opener in the previous Saturday’s 3-0 Home Park drubbing of Exeter City, in which he also teed up Ryan Taylor for the second goal.
“We were creating, but we weren’t creating clear-cut chances, so it wasn’t looking good for us,” he said. “If we didn’t get a point, coming away here would have been a nightmare, a disaster. To get that goal for the team, and for the staff and the whole squad, it’s good for me to help the boys get there.
“We want to win this kind of game. I don’t know what happened with the goal but I think, defensively, in the last couple of games, as a team, we have not been good enough. We shouldn’t be conceding goals like we have in the last couple of games.
“Fair play to [Hartlepool] for getting the goal but, if we want to get promoted, we can’t be conceding that goal.
“At the end of the day, we’ve created chances and not taken them but that’s an away draw on the board and we just need to pick up and go again.”
The similarities between Matty’s two most recent goals is no coincidence.
He said: “I’ve been practicing that at Cardiff, beating my man, coming inside, and working on my technique, all the time trying to find the far corner.
“The last couple of games have been similar goals. To be fair, it was a belter so I’m kind of happy about that – a double step-over made it a wee bit better.”