PROUD Colin Cooper says his Hartlepool United team has now “set the bar” after winning their first match of the season.
Second-half goals from on-loan Middlesbrough striker Charlie Wyke and Marlon Harewood helped secure a 2-1 win against Wimbledon, who had earlier taken the lead through Matt Tubbs in the 10th minute.
The Dons scored through another sloppy goal from a Pools perspective, Tubbs given the freedom of the penalty area to pick a spot.
But after the break, Pools were transformed and Wyke levelled in the 46 minute before Harewood completed the turn around with a smart finish in the 68th minute.
Cooper praised his team and said they have now set the standard they need to match, week-in, week-out.
“Give the team credit and the two front lads brought a different ethos,” said Cooper.
“Charlie was outstanding. He now has the strength and ability to be more than comfortable at this level and above.
“It’s nice for him to score with him being at Wimbledon last year – he was the difference in beating us last year when he came on and turned it in their favour to win it.
“It was also great to see Mazza [Harewood] on target – it will do him good and he finished the game strongly.
“I said at half-time we cannot give teams a goal start and that, after we started brightly.
“The first corner gets cleared one side and then all our lads head to the ball – I’m looking thinking ‘someone is going to drop’.
“But it can’t happen like that and it wasn’t great at all.
“The defending late in the game was better and sometimes it’s as simple as putting your bodies on the line and everyone did it – from Scott [Flinders] to Marlon [Harewood].
“If you give that and we all want to get better as a group and individuals we will be all right and this is a starting point on that.
“Let’s not accept anything less and now the bar has been set.”
Cooper also said the penalty save from Scott Flinders mid-way through the second-half was “vital,” the big stopper making a double save to help retain the lead and ultimately the three points.
The Pools manager added: “If I’m brutally honest I expected Tubbs to score, but the save was down to the work Scott puts in watching possible penalty takers and where they have gone.
“Maybe it’s not luck to save it and the bravery shown on the follow up was exceptional as well.”