IT is now up to Hartlepool United to match the high standards they have set themselves, according to defender Neil Austin.
Pools got off to the perfect start against Shrewsbury thanks to Charlie Wyke’s 5th minute opener, which Austin admitted released pressure inside the whole stadium.
Brad Walker’s fine team goal in the second half then sealed the three points to cap a fine all-round team performance.
Austin said: “It was nice to be on the front foot early in the game and get that goal - it took the pressure off the whole stadium.
“For us to get the goal early on, a platform in the game, was very important.
“We have been gifting goals to other teams early on in previous games.
“We have had a good week’s training this week and with no midweek game you could see there was a lot of energy out there.
“The enthusiasm from the lads was fantastic.”
Experienced Austin said the standard has now been set and Pools will again be playing on home soil next Saturday, when Tranmere Rovers visit.
The 31-year-old - who joked the solid work of the defence allowed Scott Flinders the day off - added: “We had a good shape about us and they had to change their shape early on in the second-half.
“I think it worked for them and we were trying to get them on the counter-attack.
“It makes a nice change for us to hit somebody on the counter-attack but we have enough pace in the team to be able to do that.
“We were great at keeping the back door shut, we kept our shape well and everybody was communicating.
“That gave us the chance to get at them on the counter-attack.
“The second goal was absolutely fantastic and Brad deserved that - hopefully he will get a few more now.
“The manager said beforehand when we have the ball to go and express ourselves and we did that - you could see it in the second goal.
“It is about setting ourselves high standards and there is no point then going on to lose the next two or three.
“We have got to put in a similar performance and we are more than capable of doing that.”
Going into the game, Austin was joint-top goalscorer this season alongside Marlon Harewood, Wyke and Jonathan Franks.
He lost that title on Saturday, given Wyke’s second goal for the club since joining on loan from Championship neighbours Middlesbrough.
But designated penalty taker Austin thought his luck was in with a couple of strong appeals for fouls on Ryan Brobbel inside the box.
Frustratingly for all concerned, referee Jeremy Simpson waved away both appeals.
Austin added: “I thought I was still going to be joint-top scorer if we had gotten that penalty at the end.
“That is all I was thinking!”
- RICHARD MENNEAR