Blackpool striker’s perfect Christmas

Mark Cullen scores the winner at Hartlepool

Mark Cullen scores the winner at Hartlepool

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Blackpool’s Mark Cullen was left delighted with his winning goal at Hartlepool which capped off a fine Christmas for the striker.

The 24-year-old, who hails from the north-east, struck the only goal at Victoria Park on Boxing Day.

It was Cullen’s second in three appearances, having scored in the 2-0 win at Stevenage, and Cullen was unable to hide his delight.

He said: “I couldn’t have asked for much more, could I?

“As I’ve said, you have to wait for your chance and when mine came I had to be ready to take it. Luckily I’ve managed to get the winning goal for the lads.

“It tops off a nice Christmas for me, being back up in the north-east with the family. To come here and score the winning goal – it doesn’t get much better.”

Manager Gary Bowyer had opted to bring Cullen into the side in preference to Jamille Matt – one of Pool’s four changes for Monday’s game.

Former Luton man Cullen has struggled for starts this season but is fully aware he has to continue making the most of his time on the pitch.

He added: “You get chances coming your way and I had to shrug off a miss from a minute or two earlier.

“The goal was pretty much a carbon copy of my Stevenage goal. It worked for me then, so I did pretty much the same again.

“If I’m playing and scoring, I don’t care if I get two minutes or the full 90.”

It wasn’t the ideal day for a recall as conditions almost became unplayable, both teams having to battle strong winds.

Pool also had to survive a late scare when Lewis Alessandra skied a penalty just six minutes from time, after Tom Aldred was penalised for handball.

Cullen added: “I’m not sure what went through Tom’s mind but luckily we managed to get away with it and hold on for the three points.

“You have to try to play the conditions. When the ball went up in the air, it was anyone’s guess where it was going to land.

“We just had to get the ball down and look to play some nice stuff.

“I think we dealt with the conditions rather well and we managed to get the three points, so we can’t complain too much.”