‘Crowd like promotion party’ says Hartlepool United keeper Scott Flinders

Scott Flinders kicks the ball away during the game against Plymouth Argyle. Picture by FRANK REID
Scott Flinders kicks the ball away during the game against Plymouth Argyle. Picture by FRANK REID

SCOTT Flinders described the atmosphere inside Victoria Park on Saturday as the best he has heard at his time at the club and admitted the jubilation at the final whistle felt like a promotion party.

Man-of-the-match Flinders pulled off save after save as Plymouth Argyle pushed forward in vain in search of an equaliser but 10-man Pools managed to hold on to secure three more vital points thanks to Luke James’ 54th minute strike.

The 27-year-old keeper, who signed in the summer of 2009 from Crystal Palace, is currently enjoying his fifth season at The Vic but he admits the atmosphere at the final whistle is the best he has experienced.

The 6ft 4” stopper said: “That is probably the best I have ever heard it, especially at the end.

“It was like we had gone up to be honest.

“The lads were shattered in the dressing room afterwards but what a performance to put in after a hard afternoon.

“They were throwing everything at us second half and we expected it but what a feeling to go on and win 1-0, with the majority of the game with 10 men.”

Pools’ goal was peppered with 21 shots over the course of the 90 minutes – nine of which were on target –but Flinders held firm for his fifth clean sheet of the season and third on the bounce.

Two moments in particular stood out, a first half double save when the scores were level, and a wonderful full-stretch save to tip a further effort onto the post just after half-time.

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Flinders said: “The double save I didn’t see until late to be honest.

“From the first save to then getting across the goal, I was just thinking “please hit me”.

“The save in the second half is probably the most important because it was a crucial time in the game.”

Flinders – who at times looked like he had super glue on his gloves – said Saturday’s match was the first time this season he has been called into action to that extent but he said he was delighted with the team performance.

James in particular was outstanding again and Flinders paid tribute to the goalscorer.

The stopper said: “It is the first real game where I have been called into action really.

“We were getting beat now and again at the start of the season but it was down to individual mistakes that cost us.

“The lads have been absolutely unbelievable and young Luke, I have never heard anybody get applauded off the pitch by home and away fans.

“He was absolutely outstanding but the rest of the lads have put in a wonderful performance as well.”

Pools went down to 10 men in the 24th minute when winger Jack Compton was given his marching orders for a late one-footed lunge.

And Flinders admits it was a backs to the wall job from then on in and said it was a relief to get in level at the interval.

Flinders said: “We wanted to keep solid and the gaffer had to really calm us down because it got a bit heated with the general intensity of the match.

“But after the game he was delighted with how we performed and stuck together as a team and I think it is a sign of things to come now.

“With a few of the lads being young, it was always going to take a little bit of time to gel and I think it is starting to gel together now, especially after these past four games.”