Crewe manager Steve Davis was happy with the result, but not the performance as his side halted a five-game winless streak with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Hartlepool.

Mark Ellis netted his first goal for the club to seal the points for Crewe after Chuks Aneke had cancelled out Evan Horwood's early opener for the visitors. But things could have been easier for the Railwaymen had Mathias Pogba not ignored his manager's orders to let Harry Davis take a first-half penalty - which the striker missed.

The furious Alex boss said: "I wanted Harry to take the penalty because his record is much better and I had only seen Pogba put all his penalties in training over the bar."

He added: "The performance wasn't great, but after losing back-to-back games the important thing was to get a result. We were much better than our last game. Our fluency was better and we created one or two opportunities even though we didn't make the best decisions when we got those chances."

Hartlepool boss Neale Cooper must have thought his plans had suffered an early setback when Andy Monkhouse hobbled off to be replaced by Horwood after just eight minutes. But the substitute wasted no time in making his mark, grabbing his first goal of the season with his first touch of the match only 60 seconds after coming on.

Jonthan Franks swung in a cross, Antony Sweeney nodded it down and the Alex rearguard went missing to allow Horwood to lift the ball over goalkeeper Alan Martin.

Aneke netted the equaliser on the stroke of half-time, curling an unstoppable first-time shot into the top corner. The Alex then went ahead when Murphy's 70th-minute free-kick evaded everyone apart from Ellis who touched the ball home at the far post.

Austin almost grabbed United a deserved share of the spoils, but his looping shot came back off the crossbar.

Cooper said: "It's another frustrating day and I really feel for the players. The last two games have been the best we have played for a long time. We have created numerous chances which is a positive, but we are devastated in the changing room to have lost after playing like that.

"We had a bit of luck with them missing the penalty, but it was justice as never in my life would I have given a penalty for that. When you are down things just tend to kick you in the teeth. We have played well and lost, but I'd rather be bad and win. If we keep playing and creating chances like we have then it is only a matter of time until we start winning."