Hartlepool Utd boss admits they need more quality after goalless draw with Tranmere Rovers

Jonathan Franks in action against Tranmere Rovers. Picture by FRANK REID

Jonathan Franks in action against Tranmere Rovers. Picture by FRANK REID

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COLIN Cooper was pleased to see his Hartlepool United side fight their way to a point against Tranmere Rovers but admitted they lacked the extra quality needed in the final third.

Pools started the Sky Bet League Two match at Victoria Park brightly but it was Rob Edwards’ Tranmere side that had the clearer chances to score.

They should have taken the lead in the 12th minute, keeper Scott Flinders denying Cole Stockton with a fine block before Rovers had further good opportunities to take the lead.

It wasn’t the greatest of games and only one side looked capable of scoring.

Thankfully Flinders and the Pools defence managed to keep the away side at bay.

It was a hard-fought point for Pools, who made it two consecutive clean sheets after the 2-0 win over Shrewsbury Town the previous Saturday.

Cooper was pleased with the effort put in by his side, just disappointed they didn’t create any real chances of their own.

“I am not disappointed with the effort or application from the team but the little bit of extra quality we had last week certainly wasn’t there in the final third,” said Cooper.

“I’m not going to say I am not disappointed because I am not.

“I am happy with the clean sheet, I don’t remember Scott making loads of saves.

“He kept his box very well and came for crosses when we needed him to but I don’t remember him having to make some outstanding saves.

“But I don’t remember Owain Fon Williams having to make outstanding saves either.

“There was a lot of activity around both 18-yard boxes without, what you would consider a real open cutting-edge chance.

“Scott likes keeping clean sheets and defenders should as well and in the second-half we have had to defend our box a little bit.

“I am not disappointed with a point but all three would have been better.

“We didn’t have that edge we had last week.”

The point saw Pools drop two places to 20th, with seven points from their opening seven matches.

Tranmere are six places further up the League Two table but have just one extra point.

Pools - full of confidence after the win over Shrewsbury - started well but couldn’t capitalise.

Cooper admitted after that it then became a battle to fight for a point.

He added: “After what happened last week [taking an early lead] you just hope you can get your noses in front again and then that maybe gives you a bit of extra energy.

“That didn’t quite happen and as the game went on Tranmere were in the game as much as we were and it became a war of attrition.

“I’m sure Rob is pleased they kept a clean sheet having conceded 10 already this season but disappointed that they haven’t scored, having also scored 10 this season.

“We were just trying to add to the impetus from last week and to give the fans something to cheer.”

Wingers Jack Compton and Ryan Brobbel, who had played for Northern Ireland’s Under-21s in midweek, didn’t have the same influence as the week before.

Cooper added: “We were lacking that bit of extra quality.

- RICHARD MENNEAR