HARTLEPOOL United’s “unbelievable” fans have been praised by Colin Cooper but his players won’t be allowed to perform like that in front of them again.
A total of 129 Pools fans made the 280-mile trip to South Wales last night to watch their side fall 2-0 to Newport County in Sky Bet League Two.
The game had been moved to Friday night because Wales take on Argentina in rugby down the road at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium this afternoon.
But despite the unfortunate scheduling, the Pools fans still turned out in numbers and supported their team until the very end.
And the support wasn’t lost on manager Colin Cooper who praised them for their efforts.
A proud Cooper said: “It is unbelievable and the fans have been outstanding for us.
“129 is a great figure to be down here on a Friday night. To each and everyone of them, thank you.
“If it is the case that they are not going home too disappointed then I thank them for that as well.
“They have every right to be disappointed but because of what they have seen or what they are seeing, then maybe that is the reason why they have given the lads one off tonight.
“If I’m brutally honest that is the message I have given in the dressing room.
“While things have been great, I’m going to allow them this one but I won’t allow them another one and let’s not allow ourselves another one, to be slightly off.
“The reason we have been getting results is down to the foundations of any football performance.
“And for the first half an hour our standards were not our standards and I’m not going to say anything other than if the fans are going to allow us that one then I thank them for that, because we won’t allow ourselves another one.”
Cooper also had praise for forward James Poole, who impressed once again playing in the ‘hole’ behind Luke James.
The 23-year-old was twice denied by excellent saves from Newport County’s Lenny Pidgeley.
Cooper said: “I have to say Poolie was probably our bright spark and was getting in some nice little pockets.
“He was really positive, picking it up, turning and driving at their back four.
“Whether he was trying to slide someone in or getting a shot off at goal himself.
“People like Monky [Andy Monkhouse] also kept going and he hit the post late on and kept plugging away on a night when it wasn’t quite happening for us.
“When we did play through them and got it down and tried to break the lines we caused one or two problems.
“But there was not enough resilience and resistance to what Newport had to offer.”
– RICHARD MENNEAR