NEIL Austin insists he never doubted there would be a reaction to Hartlepool United’s League Cup drubbing at Crewe Alexandra, writes CRAIG HOPE.
And, on Saturday against Swindon Town, the vice-captain and his colleagues served up their response with a battling display during an entertaining goalless draw.
“I think we all knew we would respond well,” said Austin, in reference to the 5-0 defeat at Gresty Road.
“The gaffer got us in to look at the goals and the performance during the week – it was unacceptable and not the way we do things.
“We had harsh words after Crewe, but we stuck together and worked hard leading up to the game, and I think you saw the response we all wanted.”
Pools, though, were forced to weather an early storm as Paolo Di Canio’s Robins set about their hosts from the off.
And Austin looked back: “They started well and came at us. They had momentum from their midweek win and it was a bit nervy the first few minutes, but we found our feet and got back into it.
“We were solid, defended the box well and had our own chances as well.
“We had a really good 20-25 minute spell where we dominated.
“But you need to score when on top like that and that’s probably our only regret that we didn’t.
“Stevie (Howard) was unlucky with the header that hit the post and the keeper didn’t know much about it.
“But then they’ve missed a penalty as well so it could have gone either way.
“It was a relief to see him (Tommy Miller) miss it, I must admit, you always think you are going to be behind when that goes against you.”
And Austin went on: “It was a tough game as well because of the heat and two minutes in you felt like you were chewing on cotton wool, it was so dehydrating.
“But everyone played their part, we all chipped in at set-pieces and Simon Walton picked his game up in the second half to help the defence.
“So overall we’re satisfied with a point against a team who will be up there this season.”