A CLEAN sheet coupled with victory.
Not since September has goalkeeper Scott Flinders enjoyed such a return.
But that was the case on Tuesday night as Pools ran out comfortable 3-0 victors over Crewe Alexandra.
Flinders, though, says that reward has been a long time coming, especially for goalkeeping coach Andy Collett.
While the Pools No.1 has taken plaudits aplenty this season for his heroics between the posts, the training-ground work of the former Darlington stopper has gone unmentioned.
Until now, Flinders admitting Collett’s contribution has taken him to “the next level” in terms of his own game.
“I had a very close relationship with Gary Walsh, who Andy replaced, and he was brilliant with me, almost like a father-figure,” Flinders told SportMail.
“So every coach is different but I must say Andy has been excellent as well.
“He’s very thorough and the work he’s done with me has improved my game, I feel like I’ve taken it to the next level.
“You’re always looking to improve but you’ve got to put the work in on the training ground.
“When you do that it makes what happens on a Saturday easier, almost instinctive.
“So I’ve got to thank Andy for his work, I hope it’s shown on the pitch.”
While Flinders’ performance has been above question this term, the same could not be said for his defence during periods of the campaign.
Of late, however, it has been a different story.
Indeed, Pools are seven without victory going to Doncaster Rovers tomorrow and Flinders insists the “Great Escape” is on.
“We believe, we always have,” said the 26-year-old when asked if Pools, six points from safety, could escape the drop.
“At times it probably looked like it might not happen for us and a lot of people had written us off.
“But we’ve turned it around and given ourselves a real chance.
“The lads have been brilliant, we’ve stuck together through it all and that has showed.
“We don’t have any fear no matter who we play and, if we keep on picking up points like we have done, then I’m sure there’ll be a fair few teams looking over their shoulder.”