AN emotional Colin Cooper labelled Hartlepool United’s win over Plymouth Argyle the most satisfying victory so far and believes it was the day his players became a team.
Pools picked up all three points for the third successive League Two game thanks to a wonderful solo effort in the second half from Luke James, his sixth goal of the season.
The win was Pools’ fourth in a row, including the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy victory over Sheffield United, and it was achieved despite spending the majority of the match down to 10 men after Jack Compton was given his marching orders for a late lunge in the 24th minute.
Yet Pools didn’t fold and a proud Cooper said afterwards he was delighted with the bravery and strength of character shown by his side.
Cooper, whose side face AFC Wimbledon at Victoria Park tomorrow night, said: “I wasn’t happy with the way we started the game but after Jack got sent off the plaudits I gave the payers after the game was that I felt it was the game they became a team, because of what they had to do to get a result.
“Every single one of them from Scott Flinders, through to the boys who came off the bench, have given their heart and soul to Hartlepool and as a manager I can’t be any more proud.
“My emotions took over at the end and I was really pumped.”
Compton was sent off for a reckless lunge at Jamie Reckord, and Pools were indebted to some fine saves from Scott Flinders to keep them level.
But Pool clinched the win when James skipped past the hapless Neal Trotman before coolly slotting the ball past keeper Luke McCormick.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Duckworth (Collins 90), Baldwin, Burgess, Austin, Compton, Walton, Dolan, Monkhouse, Poole (Richards 71), James (Franks 90). Subs not used: Rafferty, Sweeney, Rodney, Walker. Sent Off: Compton (26). Booked: Poole, Dolan. Goals: James 55.
Plymouth: McCormick, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Berry (Gurrieri 67), Reid (Alessandra 52), Young, Hayes, Boco, Hourihane, Reckord (Blackman 56). Subs not used: Cole, Wotton, Harvey, Bencherif. Booked: Young.
Att: 3,929. Ref: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire).