Cooper says Dagenham & Redbridge ‘best side’ to visit Hartlepool United so far

Colin Cooper gives instruction from the sidelines during the game against Dagenham & Redbridge. Picture by FRANK REID
Colin Cooper gives instruction from the sidelines during the game against Dagenham & Redbridge. Picture by FRANK REID

CHUFFED Colin Cooper said his Hartlepool United players deserve “full credit” – after overcoming the “best side to have played at Victoria Park this season”.

Pools beat Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 in Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two fixture thanks to a 12th minute goal from James Poole and an Andy Monkhouse header from a corner with 10 minutes to go.

That was either side of a fine strike from the Daggers’ Zavon Hines who had wriggled his way past two Pools defenders before curling a lovely effort past the despairing dive of Scott Flinders to equalise.

But Pools bounced back and went on to take all three points. Their fifth league win in six matches and third win on the trot at Victoria Park.

Cooper said: “I have to give the players full credit.

“It is easy for me to say we are not free flowing, we are not this and we are not that, but we are at times and we play some really nice football.

“We try to be progressive and create chances and we’ve scored two goals. One was a bit scruffy and the other from a set piece but I don’t really care.

“I thought my team, to a man, really dug in and made sure that we had an opportunity to go on and win the game.

“Thankfully we managed to do that.

“I thought Dagenham were as good a side as we have played here at The Vic this year so I am really, really pleased, to be walking away with three points.”

It was far from a vintage Pools performance and Cooper’s side had to dig deep once

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again to ensure they secured all three points.

The Daggers, who were eighth in League Two before kick-off, hadn’t been beaten on the road since the end of August which made victory all the more sweeter for Cooper.

After Dagenham equalised the game could have swung either way and Scott Flinders was called on to make important saves while Neil Austin produced a marvellous last-ditch block to deny Hines from giving the Daggers the lead.

A croaky Cooper, who was beginning to lose his voice come the final whistle, said: “Dagenham came and I thought countered our system, especially in the second half.

“If we are able to create chances, which we will do in any game that we play, we have to try by hook, or by crook, to keep the ball out of our goal.

“We can pick the bones out of their goal, how Zavon Hines managed to wriggle his way through, but it is a smashing strike and Scott can do nothing about it.

“But then Scott made saves and Austin the block and for us to go and create a couple of opportunities and score is really, really pleasing.

“I don’t mind having a voice like this if they give me everything, like they are doing at the moment.

“We will be alright and win more than we lose and give everybody a game as long as we continue to do what we have been doing.”

The 46-year-old said Pools had to be at their best and added it was nice to give the 3,500 home fans something to cheer about on a Saturday night.

Cooper said: “Sometimes our best just means, as we did against Wimbledon and Plymouth, digging in at the right times, keeping the ball out of our goal at important times and managing to find a way to get the ball back into their goal at an important time to give us something to hang onto for the last 10 minutes.

“I have to say I’m really chuffed with the way that everybody dug in for this club.

“I am pleased the fans have gone home happy and it is nice to hear a bit of noise and the fans supporting the team and long may that continue.”