COLIN Cooper insisted he was pleased with a point against Scunthorpe United and said every game is a “learning curve” for his young Hartlepool United side.
Pools battled hard at Victoria Park on Saturday against a resolute Iron side and in the end could have snatched the win, with Scunthorpe’s Sam Slocombe the busier of the two keepers.
Jack Barmby, making his full debut, Luke Williams and substitute Marlon Harewood all went close but in the end both sides had to settle for a point following the goalless draw.
Cooper, a former Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest left-back, said: “What pleased me most was the two things that we had spoken about beforehand - can we marry the last two performances?
“The stubbornness we showed against York City, without playing well but winning, and can we ally that with some of the really good football we played at Wimbledon.
“We nearly did both and nearly won the game but didn’t quite.
“What can we do a little bit better in those final third areas?
“Picking the right pass at the right time is one thing, which we didn’t quite do but that is a learning curve and the players, on the whole, are very young.
“I’d like to think they will learn and will get better and as long as they continue to want to do that then I can only be a happy manager.
“We played pretty well and their boss Russ Wilcox will be happy with a point but I can’t be too disappointed.
“We have kept a clean sheet, looked threatening but didn’t quite get over the line.”
The result saw Pools drop one place in Sky Bet League Two to 15th, with 35 points from 29 matches.
Cooper had shuffled his pack, with Collins replacing Jack Baldwin, who signed for Peterborough United on deadline day but would have been suspended anyway after picking up his 10th yellow card against Wimbledon.
Meanwhile, Barmby came in for 34-year-old Harewood, with Cooper looking for more energy from the start.
“Marlon has ploughed through the last two games and that has helped young Luke James by taking a few of the knocks and hence Luke has scored a couple of goals,” said Cooper.
“I’d said to Marlon that I was going to reverse it round, to start with the energy but I told him that I’d need him at some point, to either see the game out or put him on to try and get something.
“While we did that, it didn’t quite go the way we wanted it to and I’d have loved to have won but Scunthorpe were very resolute.”
The 46-year-old gaffer also reserved special praise for man of the match Williams, who excelled playing behind James in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
“Luke has played three games for us and has been outstanding in all of them.”
“Hopefully that will continue long into the future.”