Hartlepool Utd boss settles for draw with Portsmouth

Michael Duckworth in action against Portsmouth. Picture by FRANK REID
Michael Duckworth in action against Portsmouth. Picture by FRANK REID

COLIN Cooper wasn’t satisfied his Hartlepool United side only picked up a point against Portsmouth in their Sky Bet League Two clash but admitted it was a fair result.

More than 4,000 supporters watched the 0-0 draw between Pools and managerless Pompey at Victoria Park on Saturday, with both sides not doing enough to win the game.

There were chances though and Scott Flinders, making his 200th appearance for Pools, and Pompey’s Trevor Carson, were called into action on several occasions.

But neither team could force a result and bought to an end Pools’ fine four-game winning spell in the league at The Vic.

The result also meant Cooper’s side lost more ground on the play-off positions, with 13th-placed Pools now seven points adrift of the top seven.

Trimdon-born Cooper said: “I don’t like to use the phrase ‘cancelled out’.

“If I’m honest, I just think it was two teams that tried to do it the right way, that weren’t quite good enough on the day to get their noses in front, in order to win the game.

“Both teams tried to win the game and at no point did either side shut up shop for a point.

“Even up until the last few minutes we were still trying to win the game, with the personnel we had on the pitch and they dealt with it.

“Portsmouth caused us one or two problems and we managed to deal with that as well.

“Sometimes you win a game, sometimes you lose, and not very often this season have we drawn a game but we did against Portsmouth.

“While I’m disappointed not to win the game, I’m pleased that we didn’t lose and I think a draw is a fairly fair result.”

The 46-year-old added: “After the way we played at home over the last few weeks I don’t think we can be satisfied but we have to accept sometimes that there are going to be games where we can’t be on top and free-flowing.

“The game could have gone either way.”

Pompey caretaker manager Andy Awford, who is being assisted by first-team coach Alan McLoughlin, made sure his side was disciplined and composed and Cooper said it was exactly how he expected them to be.

Cooper said: “I thought Portsmouth tried hard, tried to spread out and play it from the back and play through midfield.

“The difference with them, compared to previous matches we have seen of them, is that they had the obvious outlet of Ryan Bird, who is a big lad and that gives you an obvious target if you can’t play through.

“But I thought our lads competed well and Jack [Baldwin] and Christian [Burgess] competed well against Bird’s initial contact and then it is a question of dealing with the second contact.

“I think we both huffed and puffed and gave each other a few problems rather than giving each other a load of problems.

“While everyone will say it is a game we should be winning, I did say beforehand, that the one thing Portsmouth will be is organised and disciplined.

“They also put Johnny Ertl on James Poole, because they recognised the threat that James has been for us.”

Pools take a two-week break from league action now and focus turns to the tie with Coventry City in the Second Round of the FA Cup at The Vic on Saturday.