COLIN Cooper today saluted his two Jacks, Compton and Barmby, after they fired Hartlepool United to Football League safety.
The supersubs struck second-half goals to lead an incredible Pools victory yesterday as the League Two strugglers fought back from a goal behind and a man down to beat Morecambe 2-1.
Pools were down to 10 men after a 57th-minute red card for Simon Walton and staring a seventh straight defeat in the face when he brought on the two Jacks.
Compton’s 67th-minute screamer brought Pools level and Barmby notched the winner 10 minutes from time.
It lifted Cooper’s side to 17th and on to 52 points and with Northampton, Bristol Rovers, Wycombe and Exeter all losing yesterday it has consolidated Pools place in League Two for next season.
“I said to both subs this is your chance to become a hero and both the Jacks did,” said Cooper
“The two Jacks got us the goals to win us the game but they were all heroes.
“The Jacks are players with great ability but you would also say they have struggled over the last two to three weeks with their confidence.
“Yesterday was may be the perfect scenario for both Jacks. Both came up with the goods.
“Jack Compton has looked bright and breezy and brought that onto the pitch
“He has that ability in his left foot. That has been the most positive he’s been for weeks, when he has not made enough of an impact.
“We know how Jack Barmby can manipulate a football.
“We’ve seen that in the time he has been here. He can score goals and he can create goals.
l TURN to Page 39
“Jack Barmby had no fear and came up with an unbelievable finish.
“Perhaps he was slightly too cool for my liking.
“For a boy of his age that’s an unbelievable level of calmness.
“He decides he’s going to bring the ball in, drop his shoulder and then as the keeper comes out, he slides the ball underneath him.”
The substitutions were a master-stroke by Cooper.
Some elements in the crowd booed when Cooper withdrew James Poole for the introduction of Compton though there were few grumbles when Barmby came on for Andy Monkhouse, who was feeling the pace a little after two games in three days after his return from a hamstring injury.
“You felt it was going to take something special to break Morecambe down and we all know what Jack Compton has in that left foot and we know Jack Barmby can finish,” said Cooper.
“I heard the noise when I brought James Poole off, but it’s my job to make decisions.
“If people don’t like them that’s tough, I still have to make decisions.
“Sometimes I get them wrong and sometimes I get them right
“Yesterday, I think I can hold up my hands and say I got it right.”
Cooper has every right to feel proud.
A wretched run of form saw Pools fall from ninth and just five points off the play-offs to only two points off the relegation zone
But when it mattered, his players came up trumps to win the 19th v 18th battle in front of a bumper crowd of 4,864 at the Vic.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon,” said the 47-year-old.
“The players were fantastic – a credit to the club.
“The one thing I said to them after Burton on Saturday was that at some point in your career you’ll have to do an unselfish act.
“Yesterday was an unselfish act for the club and the fans.
“They should be very proud of themselves.”