EXPERIENCED David Mirfin was pleased to see his Hartlepool United team-mates come through a tough test of character with flying colours.
Pools faced a real battle against Newport County once Jimmy Dack’s side had levelled the scores two minutes after the re-start.
It was a test of character second-half and it shows how far we have come as a teamDAVID MIRFIN
But they held firm to make it five games unbeaten and crucially remain a point above the relegation zone.
Mirfin admitted to mixed feelings after the 2-2 draw at Rodney Parade, a game which Pools led 2-0 after 37 minutes thanks to a Lee Minshull own goal and a cool back-heeled flick from Jordan Hugill.
But the on-loan Scunthorpe United defender felt his comrades should be pleased with the effort and commitment shown as they scrapped to secure a point after being pegged back either side of the break.
Play-off contenders Newport are sixth in Sky Bet League Two and pushing for promotion and Mirfin was expecting a backlash from them after Pools raced into the lead.
“We knew Newport wouldn’t play that badly after the break,” said Mirfin. “The goals came at a good time for them, either side of half-time, and after that it was a battle for us.
“But at this stage of the season, where we are in the league, it is a point gained.
“We are disappointed we let a 2-0 lead slip but it was a test of character second-half and it shows how far we have come as a team.
“First half we showed our strong attacking attributes, Jonathan Franks up front was unplayable and they didn’t know what to do.
“After the break, we had to battle and it highlighted our strengths defensively.”
Mirfin was at the heart of Pools’ defence, a defence which was throwing their bodies in the way of a late Newport rally.
The 29-year-old produced a full-blooded block late on, one which helped secure the point.
Modest Mirfin added: “I think it was just tiredness more than anything my block at the end!
“Either side and it would have gone in but if you throw yourself at the ball then nine times out of ten you deserve your luck.”
Next up for Pools is the visit of Southend United to Victoria Park on Easter Monday - a game the club have again slashed ticket prices for.
Mirfin added: “We are all looking forward to Monday, the atmosphere at the last two home games has been tremendous.
“The fans will get behind us if we give them something to get behind.
“So we need to start with a quick tempo and put pressure on Southend from the off.
“Out of the games remaining, Newport away was was going to be the toughest test.
“It is another game ticked off and another we haven’t been beaten in.
“We need to approach Southend in the same way.
“Every game is tough but there is very little between the sides and now it is just who wants it more.
“Those sides near the play-offs may be a bit nervous as they chase promotion.”