COLIN Cooper has hailed the positive attitude of his players as Hartlepool United picked up their first three points on home soil.
Victoria Park was bouncing after goals from on-loan Middlesbrough striker Charlie Wyke and Brad Walker sealed the win for Cooper’s under pressure side.
It was a much-needed and much-deserved one as well, as the Pools camp looked to move on from the distraction of Luke James’ transfer to Peterborough United.
Going into the game, United had lost four out of five matches in Sky Bet League Two but a fifth minute opener from Wyke settled nerves.
Then Walker ran almost the length of the pitch to connect first-time with a Jack Compton cross in the 79th minute.
Afterwards Cooper, who had made three changes to his side, was pleased with his team’s performance.
Cooper said: “It was positive from the off, with great energy and enthusiasm.
“Shrewsbury are solid and organised and I think from the chance we had first minute, we felt good.
“Lots of things we wanted were energy and enthusiasm and we saw lots of that.
“I saw some exiting stuff, opportunities and lots of crosses while we defended our box well.
“I can only be pleased and if we send our fans home happy we are all happy.
“We had lost the last two home games, but this time we got our noses in front and we saw last year that when you get in front the young players gain confidence to express themselves more.
“If you are left chasing the game, then you can get hit by a sucker punch and we did that to Shrewsbury this time.”
Compton started on the left wing with Ryan Brobbel on the right and it looked a much more balanced Pools side, with Jonathan Franks - instead of Marlon Harewood - pushed up front alongside Charlie Wyke.
Cooper said: “We made changes.
“Jon Franks had a good pre-season and deserves an opportunity but at Cheltenham last week he wasn’t creative enough.
“With Jack I set him a challenge to create and he put a shift in and he is more than capable of that.
“We needed somebody to penetrate their back three and it was a tough decision leaving Marlon out.
“But it proved the right one as Jonathan was a thorn in their side and their manager admitted they couldn’t handle our front two – as a manager it’s nice to hear.
“Tommy [Miller] got more on the front foot and we knew Jordan Clark for them was clever in picking up pockets of space.
“We wanted Tommy’s experience in there and it seemed he got on the front foot more to drag Bradley with him.
“It wasn’t perfect all the time, but you could see the experience, energy and enthusiasm running through him.”
Cooper admitted it was pleasing to see so many contenders for the man of the match and the reaction of others when Jonathan Franks’ name was read out.
He was less impressed with the performance of referee Jeremy Simpson, while H’Angus the Monkey offered the linesman a pair of glasses after missing a blatant foul on Brobbel.
Cooper added: “We had a few contenders for man of the match.
“The referee should have given us two stonewall penalties, both against Ryan [Brobbel].
“We should have had one at Stevenage, two today.
“The referee last season [against Oxford last September] booked Jack Compton for diving, sent Steve Howard off and then gave them a penalty when it wasn’t a penalty.
“He’s not having a great time at the Vic.”
The emergency loan window opens on Monday and Pools will be looking to add further additions to the squad, as well as extending Brobbel’s loan deal.
Cooper added: “We are all making calls about availability and trying to add quality and some quantity.
“I don’t want just numbers, we need to be better and improve.”