Neale Cooper pleased with entertainment value against Doncaster Rovers

Steve Howard and Shelton Martis battle to win a header. Picture by FRANK REID
Steve Howard and Shelton Martis battle to win a header. Picture by FRANK REID

NEALE Cooper believes the second half of Saturday’s match against Doncaster Rovers was the best Victoria Park has seen this season in terms of entertainment.

Pools took a 70th-minute lead when Neil Austin netted from the penalty spot after Steve Howard was manhandled inside the area.

But Rob Jones headed home just one minute from time to extend Pools’ winless run to nine matches in all competitions.

And Cooper reflected: “Right from the off in the second half we were a lot better and I enjoyed it.

“We got at them in the wide areas and it was really good going forward and at the back.

“We got our reward with the pen, which I though it was because Stevie doesn’t get much protection from referees at times, and Neil put it away superbly.

“I thought we defended excellently as well until that last minute because they had a good strikeforce.”

But the nature of the Rovers equaliser did frustrate the manager.

Jonathan Franks had the chance to play for time high up the pitch but elected to cross at the expense of a throw-in.

From there the visitors broke and won a free-kick - needlessly conceded by Peter Hartley – which was worked wide and delivered for the towering centre-back to score.

“We spoke about it afterwards and it’s a needless foul which Peter has conceded,” said Cooper.

“We weren’t in any danger because the lad is facing away from goal and is up the park.

“Peter has gone through his back and given away the free-kick.

“It goes wide and it’s a great cross and it was hard to defend that.

“But just before that Jon Franks had a chance to run the ball in the corner but tried to play a diagonal ball and it went for a throw-in, that’s where the goal came from.”

Franks had earlier spurned a chance to make it 2-0 when through on goal, and Cooper went on: “That chance could have killed it.

“At 1-0 they’ll always have a chance to grab something and they did.

“So it’s frustrating and tough on the boys because a win would have given us a right lift.

“As it is though I saw enough to give me confidence that we’ll soon be out of this and heading in the right direction.”