MODEST Colin Cooper was delighted Hartlepool United came away from Dagenham & Redbridge with all three points – but admitted they got “lucky”.
Second-half goals from on-loan Middlesbrough forward Luke Williams and winger Andy Monkhouse sealed a 2-0 win in the Sky Bet League Two clash with the Daggers from East London.
It was an entertaining encounter at the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium, which, in truth, could have gone either way until Pools finally broke the deadlock.
Pools made the most of their chances and secured the win thanks to a deflected 30-yard Williams volley in the 68th minute and an 89th minute close range finish from 33-year-old Monkhouse.
Before Pools took the lead Wayne Burnett’s side hit the post and had further chances flashed across Scott Flinders’ goal, yet they couldn’t find the back of the net as Pools recorded their third clean sheet in four League Two matches.
Pools also had chances though before eventually scoring and the victory pushes Cooper’s side further up mid-table to 11th, nine points off seventh spot and nine above the drop zone.
Cooper was pleased with the effort and work rate of his
l TURN to Centre Pages
players but said he felt Pools rode their luck at times.
“In a way it was a classic away performance but I have to be genuinely honest and say I think the cards fell our way a bit,” said Cooper.
“Dagenham have had as many chances in the game as we have had probably and I think both teams, at periods in the game, had good possession and put the opposition under pressure.
“But we got that bit of luck to score the first and then when you get a second so late on you are always happy with that.
“Sometimes you get a bit of luck and we got that as they hit the post, had chances flash across the goal and skied a few over from good positions.
“The one thing we keep saying though is we have to remain stubborn, knowing we will create something at some point.
“But if I’m honest we got a bit lucky because the game could have gone either way as Dagenham had some decent chances.
“Up until the goal we had been creating chances too but we had shots blocked or saved and it could have flipped in either direction but obviously I’m delighted it’s gone our way,” added the 46-year-old.
Pools’ stubbornness in recent matches is reaping rewards and with the win over Dagenham & Redbridge came another clean sheet.
Sam Collins, playing his second game since the sale of Jack Baldwin, played a key part and Cooper says it is vital having experienced players in the side.
“For Sam it is another big pat on the back,” said Cooper.
“The one thing you want is for players of that experience to have a real positive impact because if you take Sam, Marlon Harewood and Andy Monkhouse out of the team we are very young.
“With the exception of Scott [Flinders] and Simon [Walton] everybody under that is 17 through to 20 or 21, so one or two old heads in the team, if they are positive role models, is good.
“Sam has been a credit to himself, the way he has kept himself fit and he has really stood up and been counted.
“One ball smacked him square in the chest and that is what you want from defenders - players that are desperate to keep the ball out of the goal.”