English League 2

Allen praises table-topping Gills

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Sat, 09 Mar 2013 20:18:00

Roberto Mancini admitted that he did not know what sort of commitment to expect from Carlos Tevez beyond the summer after his hat-trick in Manchester City's FA Cup victory over Barnsley.

The striker was in inspired form as City crushed their Championship opponents 5-0 to book a place in the semi-finals, with Aleksandar Kolarov and David Silva also among the goals.

His long-term future remains the subject of speculation as his contract expires in 2014 and he has previously expressed a desire to return to Argentina, but Mancini is focused on what he can do for City for the remainder of this term.

"Now it is important that Carlos continues to score because we need his goals until the end of the season," said Mancini.

"After that I don't know what commitment (there will be) in the summer. Carlos has another year contract. It depends on him.

"At the moment we can say nothing. Our focus should be only on the last two months.

"Carlos has said many times that he wants to come back to Argentina and it depends on him for this, but now we don't think about this situation."

Mancini took Tevez off with 14 minutes remaining and the pair exchanged words on the touchline, but the manager insists there was no quarrel.

He was delighted with Tevez's performance and was just disappointed that fellow forward Edin Dzeko was unable to get on the score sheet.

"I asked him if he had a problem in his hamstring and he said no. That was it," said Mancini.

"I'm very sorry for Edin because it was very important in this game that both strikers scored a goal but sometimes that isn't possible. But three goals is good for Carlos."

Tevez started despite being arrested on Thursday night on suspicion of driving whilst disqualified, but there were no signs of anxiety in his performance.

Mancini joked: "I don't know about this, but if it has this effect on him I hope the police can stop him every day."

Both sides gave their all in poor conditions at Victoria Park without finding a route to goal.

The point sees the Glovers drop to fifth in League One, while Pools are now six short of safety in the relegation zone.

Pools have now lost only once in nine, but have suffered two frustrating 0-0 draws at home in the last week to leave them six points adrift of Scunthorpe, the team directly above the drop zone.

"There's frustration from the outcome," said boss John Hughes. "But we were up against a good side, at this stage of the season we need three points.

"What they have achieved since Christmas has been commendable. Anyone watching can see there is a fight to it, if we are going down, go down having a fight.

"The teams we are chasing have all lost - it might be two dropped, it might be one towards safety. If it goes to the end of the season and the last game, so be it. Bring it on."

Pools had a late chance to win it when substitute Antony Sweeney was played in on goal, but he pushed his shot too close to Glovers goalkeeper Marek Stech.

Hughes added: "Keep that back door shut and you have a chance. We had the best chance of the second half after keeping that back door shut.

"We kept a clean sheet and it's spirited. Who knows, we may win the next three games and all is well."

Both sides gave their all in poor conditions at Victoria Park without finding a route to goal.

The point sees the Glovers drop to fifth in League One, while Pools are now six short of safety in the relegation zone.

Glovers' striker Paddy Madden went closest for the visitors, his 35th-minute snap-shot crashing off the underside of the crossbar and bouncing to safety.

After his side's first goalless draw since March last year, Johnson said: "It's a rare 0-0 draw for us. Both teams have a lot to play for and maybe this point will look ok later in the season.

"Let's not hope we look back at is as two dropped. Hartlepool are in decent form and they were trying to win the game as well, I was just disappointed we didn't find that killer ball.

"It's a long way for a 0-0 draw. It's a better result for us with the way other results went and we are still very much in the mix."

Johnson added: "It's seven hours on the way back, and we're not going home happy, but I go over the game in my head.

"Our opportunities weren't easy ones and in the final third, we couldn't quite find that bit more to give our strikers an opportunity to slip it.

"On the day we just couldn't get the quality to set the teams apart."

Yeovil came up against a resolute Carlisle defence and the Cumbrians took a big step towards safety with a first-half header from Sean O'Hanlon and a second strike after the break by Beck, his sixth goal of the season.

It was a first win in seven games for Carlisle, which had a lot to thank central defensive pairing O'Hanlon and Danny Livesey for an uncompromising display at the back.

But it was 18-year-old striker Beck who came in for warm praise from Carlisle manager Greg Abbott.

Beck led the line due to the three-match suspension incurred by Lee Miller last week.

Abbott said: "Trotta and Wright-Phillips destroyed us last time we played Brentford, but Beck outshone both of them.

"No-one has probably heard about Mark Beck, but they will have heard about him after this.

"This is probably the best result since I became manager of this club.

"It's the proudest I've been. We have a group of players performing well above their station at the moment.

"We are coming out of a tough situation. No-one shirked anything and there was effort and determination."

A first-half header from French defender Mathieu Baudry and a Kevin Lisbie penalty early in the second half gave the Londoners the three points.

Turner was disappointed with how his side switched off to allow Baudry to score and was also not pleased with the rash challenge by David McAllister on Romain Vincelot which led to Lisbie's spot-kick.

"We've hit a flat spot and three consecutive defeats is the last thing we wanted at this stage of the season with so much at stake," said Turner.

"You can feel a little bit of tension about us and we've paid a heavy price for that.

"Our defending for the first goal from a set piece was quite poor. We didn't get ourselves set up quickly enough.

"And what kills you dead is the goal five minutes after half time. You can't go into tackles like that. David knows it, he apologised to the players, but it doesn't do us any good now.

"We conceded right after half time at Walsall last week as well and it kills off the inspiration to try and start afresh in the second half.

"We had efforts at goal, one or two trickled wide, but we weren't really convincing."

The Shrews sit just four points clear of the relegation zone and face testing away games at MK Dons and Crewe this week.

Sullivan, 43, was in inspired form throughout the promotion clash making a number of expert saves to keep Doncaster top of npower League One.

The former Tottenham, Leeds and Chelsea goalkeeper only arrived back at his parent club on Friday after a loan spell at AFC Wimbledon was cut short due to an injury to regular number one Gary Woods.

Flynn said: "Bringing Neil back was a big boost and he was absolutely magnificent.

"It was like having a young Neil Sullivan back and he played a big part in the result.

"It is almost worth a goal having a keeper like that. He made a great save in the first half and showed his experience by getting in good positions - it was exactly what we wanted.

"We played a good team, who gave us serious problems all over the pitch. I think it is a big win for us at this stage of the season.

"It is a big win against one of the big teams in the competition - it was absolutely vital."

In a hard-fought contest, the Cherries started brightly and almost took the lead when skipper Steve Cook rattled the crossbar with a header after five minutes.

Sullivan then won his battle with opposition striker Brett Pitman, tipping a close-range header over the crossbar and diving low to his right to keep out a fierce drive.

Goals from Antonio German and Chris Whelpdale proved the difference and, although Jason Banton pulled one back, the Pilgrims slip to the foot of the Football League.

"As a team, I don't think we believed we could get something," said Sheridan. "It was a tough game. Gillingham are strong, well organised, they get in your face and they make life difficult.

"But I thought if we wanted it a bit more we could have got something out of the game. I feel there was definitely a chance [of that].

"We fought hard, but the goals were poor on our half and they picked the seconds and we didn't keep the ball when we needed to.

"We had little patches of play, but I don't want us to start creating chances in the last 30 minutes of a game. I want to get an advantage in the game first.

"It's easy [creating] when you're 2-0 and the game's possibly gone for you.

"I think there were one or two 50/50 penalty decisions that didn't go our way."

After two games with out a win there was an edgy feel to the Priestfield but goals from Antonio German and Chris Whelpdale proved the difference as Plymouth dropped to the bottom of the Football League.

Jason Banton pulled one back for the visitors but it was nothing more than a consolation goal and, with Port Vale surprise losers at home to Southend, Gillingham extended their lead at the top of the table.

"It was the best performance for a while. At this time of year, anxiety and tension are high and it's difficult to win at home," said Allen.

"That's not just at Gillingham, it's the same in the division above and the division above that. But as a manager you can either hide behind it or do something positive about it.

"But we thought we would create an action plan and the players deserve all the credit because they went over the white line and they put in a performance.

"It was good to watch, it was nice to see our team play with a lot more confidence and belief in front of our home supporters.

"We played great football, we knocked it about, we moved it around the pitch, we were tenacious and hungry. It took a lot of courage.

"The players put in the performance and the supporters enjoyed it. Our supporters are full of passion and it was nice of us to give something back. They will probably have to get health and safety in because the noise levels in here were quite incredible."

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