NEALE Cooper believes he got the reaction he was looking for from his players as they rescued a point against Shrewsbury Town.
The Scot delivered a passioante plea to his men on the eve of the game to show “pride” in themselves and the football club, this after the humiliation of the 5-0 thumping at Preston North End four days earlier.
And, while Pools were just a few minutes away from what would have been a morale-sapping defeat, Cooper was nonetheless pleased with the spirit which saw substitute Andy Monkhouse fire a late equaliser after a Marvin Morgan double had reversed Jonathan Franks’ opener.
“I was looking for a reaction from them and it was a positive way to end the game,” he told SportMail.
“I think I got the reaction I wanted, which is pleasing.
“I made three changes, which I thought I had to, and we looked a lot brighter at times.
“We spoke a lot and had meetings before the game and I thought it was much better.”
Pools had been staring at defeat after Morgan broke clear and slotted the Shrews in front in the 82nd minute, just seconds after Franks had spurned a glorious opportunity at the other end.
And Cooper reflected: “There was a lot of good stuff but defensively we’ve got to be a lot better.
“Their goal came from a really good attack from ourselves and I thought Jon was going to score at the back post.
“It was a great chance and he could even have squared it.
“It was a disappointing way to concede and it’s almost cost us.
“But credit to the lads, they dug in until the end and got their reward.
“It was cracking finish from Andy and fair play to him.”
Pools, though, had to rely upon goalkeeper Scott Flinders to preserve their point when he saved from the hat-trick-hunting Morgan in the dying seconds.
And Cooper went on: “I thought big Scotty was great and that’s what you want from your keeper when he saved at the end – that was superb.
“We could even have won it ourselves after the equaliser and it was a good finish to the game.”
And Cooper also took time to thank the home crowd for their support.
“It was a strange atmosphere, which I understand, because it’s been a hard week,” he said.
“But the support was great and there was no negativity, they appreciate it’s a hard time right now.
“They stuck with us until the end and that no doubt helped in getting our goal.”