GOALSCORING saviour Jonathan Franks believes his Hartlepool United team mates showed “real character” to come back from two down to secure a point.
The 23-year-old forward was the star of the show on Saturday against Cheltenham Town, scoring two fine second-half goals to ensure Colin Cooper’s side left Gloucestershire with a point.
Franks, who usually plays on the wing, started up front alongside Andy Monkhouse in a new look 3-5-2 formation, which saw 10-goal top scorer Luke James and strike partner James Poole on the bench.
It almost backfired as Pools went in at the break losing 2-0 but they fought back well to gain a point.
Indeed, it was such a spirited second half performance that the players came away disappointed only to draw the Sky Bet League Two match.
Stockton-born Franks, who now has four goals this season, praised his team-mates for their character and resilience.
“It wasn’t a good start and we were two goals down at the break but the lads showed real character,” he said. “We knew we had to work hard and we certainly did that second half.
“We looked dead and buried at half-time but managed to get ourselves back into it and could have even won it.”
Franks played his 23rd match of the season on Saturday but has been in and out of the team in recent weeks and admitted he has had to be patient.
The former Middlesbrough winger said: “I’ve been champing at the bit and every opportunity to knock on the gaffer’s door I’ve been there.
“All the lads have a great attitude and work hard in training every day and it is hard for the gaffer to pick a team.
“We had the good run and the momentum was good but had a few results of late which meant he has had to change it.
“That obviously gave me the opportunity up front and I took that by scoring two goals.”
Cheltenham led after just four minutes when Jermaine McGlashan took advantage of a mix-up between Scott Flinders and Neil Austin in the box and slotted the ball home from a tight angle.
It was 2-0 after 37th minutes, courtesy of a looping Kemar Roofe header from close range after a fine cross from David Noble.
Pools did have the ball in the back of the net courtesy of a fine finish from Franks just before the half-time whistle but it was disallowed for a soft challenge by Sweeney on Craig Braham-Barrett.
Pools reduced the deficit with a route one goal – Flinders’ long kick caught out the home defence and Franks ran onto the ball and calmly slotted it home in the 54th minute.
The equaliser came on 71 minutes when Franks showed lovely footwork to create some room for himself on the edge of the area and his right-footed shot clipped the post on its way into the net.
Cheltenham: Scott Brown, Jombati, Troy Brown, Elliott, Braham-Barrett, Taylor, Noble, Richards (Cureton 83), McGlashan, Roofe (Penn 46), Harrison. Subs not used: Deering, Gornell, Roberts, Goldson, Ajala. Goals: McGlashan 4, Roofe 38.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Duckworth, Burgess, Baldwin, Walton, Austin, Dolan, Holden (Compton 46), Sweeney (Poole 65), Franks, Monkhouse. Subs not used: Collins, Rafferty, Rodney, James, Walker.
Booked: Monkhouse. Goals: Franks 54, 71.
Att: 2,491 Ref: Steven Rushton (Staffordshire).