Hartlepool manager John Hughes cut a relieved figure after seeing his side register their first win and goal in eight games with a 2-0 victory over Bury.

Pools had not been on the scoresheet since February 26 before Andy Monkhouse ended a 762-minute drought with a 42nd-minute header. Winger Monkhouse then snaffled a second goal in the 72nd minute to lift Pools off the foot of npower League One by leapfrogging the Shakers.

Pools could have been relegated if they had lost and had other results gone against them, but instead sit five points adrift of safety with three games left.

"It's very pleasing, not a great match," admitted Hughes. "It was two competitive teams, but it was a must-win game for us and we got off the foot of the table. What will happen, will happen and we owe it to our supporters to put pride in the club.

"We tried to play football, conditions weren't great, but we played it properly and I'm delighted to pick up the points - it gives us a little bit of hope. We all want to end the season on a high and I want to set a winning culture at this club. The boys are still playing for their livelihoods and we all want to play a part in it."

Bury were reduced to 10 men after Monkhouse's first goal when Craig Fagan was guilty of serious foul play on Pools' left-back Darren Holden. The visitors rarely troubled Pools, going close in the 55th minute when striker Andy Bishop fired over on the turn.

But they were well beaten and manager Kevin Blackwell said: "We should have been comfortable 2-0 up and conceded a soft goal. We've never capitalised on our play, it would have been a walk in the park and we made it hard for us.

"Nicky Ajose should have scored when he was put through when it was 0-0, you dream of chances like that. Not half-chances, clear chances.

"It's the old adage that goals win games, we go one-up, and they were all over the place."

On Fagan's red card Blackwell added: "Fagan's sending-off was rash - no excuses. Some strange decisions, but that was a red card. He had a long chat with the linesman and then decided. We kept going, had pressure at the end, but lack quality. It's been such a long season, the whole situation is grim."