Hartlepool boss Neale Cooper admits Peter Hartley was lucky against Sheffield Wednesday

Peter Hartley takes in the applause of the travelling Pools fans with a little help from Luke James. Picture By Frank Reid
Peter Hartley takes in the applause of the travelling Pools fans with a little help from Luke James. Picture By Frank Reid

NEALE Cooper admits that the “immense” Peter Hartley was lucky to escape a red card on what was an afternoon of mixed emotions for the defender at Hillsborough, writes CRAIG HOPE.

The 23-year-old could have seen red for a trip on Gary Madine in the first half as the Owls striker raced clear on goal.

But referee Gavin Ward decided that the covering Evan Horwood meant a yellow card was sufficient punishment and Hartley stayed on the pitch.

And the Pools ace made Wednesday pay when he opened the scoring with a powerful header two minutes after the break.

He then landed awkwardly on his shoulder following a challenge with Madine and it had looked as if his afternoon was over.

He battled on, however, only to gift possession to Madine 15 minutes from time and he fired the hosts 2-1 ahead.

But Tony Sweeney spared his team-mates’s blushes with a stupendous late leveller and Hartley was then key in seeing out the point.

And Cooper reflected: “It was an eventful afternoon for Peter, that’s for sure.

“I thought he might have been sent off, but one of the lads said Evan was tucking around a little bit – although I thought he was gone.

“But then he scored a great goal with a fantastic header from Evan’s corner.”

Read more of Cooper’s thoughts, plus more photos and match reaction to Pools’ Hillsborough draw, in today’s Sportmail.