Hartlepool United still in the mix after 0-0 draw at Accrington Stanley

BATTLING AWAY: Christian Burgess in action against Accrington Stanley. Picture by FRANK REID
BATTLING AWAY: Christian Burgess in action against Accrington Stanley. Picture by FRANK REID

COLIN Cooper insists he wasn’t too disappointed to see his play-off chasing Hartlepool United pick up a point at Accrington Stanley.

The goalless draw at the Storefirst.com Stadium means 10th-placed Pools remain five points off the top seven because Southend United could only manage a draw at Scunthorpe.

Wins for fellow play-off hopefuls York City and Plymouth Argyle meant Cooper’s side could have done with all three points against fourth bottom Stanley.

But Cooper said he wasn’t too downhearted after seeing his players rise to the challenge he set them.

After the weekend defeat to Wycombe, Cooper demanded his players come away with at least a point, which they managed to do on a bitterly cold night.

It was a hard-fought point as well as Pools struggled to create real goalscoring chances against James Beattie’s Accrington side.

But they battled hard and the manager said overall a point was fair enough, which he welcomed after previous away defeats to Northampton and Wycombe.

“I’m not disappointed because the last two away games we have lost,” said Cooper.

“My challenge was that the worst case scenario was that we come away with something, a clean sheet, and then we’ll see.

“We are still five points off the top seven and the only way we are going to bridge that gap is by winning matches.

“The challenge now is to make sure we are prepared and ready for Bristol Rovers.”

He added: “As last night’s game went on I fancied us to actually nick one.

“It didn’t quite happen and James [Beattie] will feel the same, as both teams tried to switch play and pass but it didn’t quite happen.

“On the night I would suggest he is probably slightly disappointed they haven’t taken all three points but if I look back at the second-half I will be disappointed we haven’t snatched it.

“But I can’t be too disappointed.”

The one thing Cooper was disappointed with though was the inability of the forward players to test the Accrington Stanley keeper more.

Marcus Bettinelli saw several shots go wide of his post or high over the bar in the opening 45-minutes with midfielder Simon Walton guilty of three erratic shots.

Stanley had the better of the second half but Pools could have ended up nicking all three points in the final minute.

First substitute James Poole failed to connect properly and then fellow sub Marlon Harewood saw his shot blocked.

Cooper added: “There was a couple of instances when I think we had the foothold in the second-half.

“When the likes of Jack Barmby, Luke James, Jono Franks and James Poole are one-on-one with a defender on the 18-yard box I’m expecting them to get it out into a place where they can get a shot at goal.

“None of them have been able to do that.

“James had a couple of chances but didn’t manage to get a shot off and Marlon had a shot blocked but neither keeper had a real shot to save in the game.”

Next up for Pools is Bristol Rovers on Saturday at Victoria Park and Cooper will be setting his players a fresh challenge.

The 47-year-old added: “On our home turf we need to get out of the blocks and get the momentum and the fans behind us and see what we can produce on Saturday.

“You get into this stage of the season and need to be winning football matches.

“But I’m pleased that having lost the last two matches we got something from the game.”

While the gaffer was pleased to come away with a point, he was less pleased to have forgotten his coat on what was a bitterly cold night in Lancashire.

“I know I’m from Trimdon but it was a schoolboy error,” added Cooper.