Hartlepool United 0 Portsmouth 0

Scott Flinders created history in a Hartlepool United shirt and then manager Colin Cooper admitted how lucky he is to have the goalkeeper at Victoria Park

Non-League football
Non-League football

Scott Flinders created history in a Hartlepool United shirt and then manager Colin Cooper admitted how lucky he is to have the goalkeeper at Victoria Park.

Flinders became the first post-war Pools goalkeeper to chalk up 49 clean sheets in the Football League by keeping out Portsmouth in the goalless draw.

The 27-year-old, making his 200th appearance for the club, also had to work for the honour, with two important saves to keep out the managerless Pompey.

In the first half Flinders did well to get down to his left and turn a distance drive from Jed Wallace on to the foot of the post before it eventually rolled to safety.

Then shortly after half-time he had to be alert to leap to his left again when a hooked shot from Sonny Bradley was heading for the top corner of his net.

Cooper appreciates the quality he has between the posts at Hartlepool.

He said: “We are very lucky to have Scott. Two hundred appearances and 49 clean sheets, is an outstanding contribution.

“Coming in here during the summer, I knew we had an outstanding keeper at this level.

“We are very lucky to have him. Everybody said we had to hang on to him and he is proving his worth.

“He is an understated character and he is very proud of his achievements and rightly so.”

Flinders’ 182nd league appearance also equalled the club record held by Norman Oakley, the longest serving Hartlepool shot-stopper from the 1950s.

After the final whistle was blown on his latest outing, Cooper knows his No 1 has all the ingredients to be a higher-eague goalkeeper – even if he never wants to lose him.

He added: “He is 6ft 4in and gets down low to save things, he comes for crosses and his distribution is really improving.

“In modern-day football it will benefit him to work on the technical goalkeeping work and the ball at his feet.

“Scott, for a goalkeeper, is quite young. I think if there were not a lot of goalkeepers out there then we would have had a lot more inquiries about Scott.

“Over the recent years here at a club which has not been flying, his contribution has been outstanding.

“He should rightly be given the plaudits of that. Hartlepool should be very pleased they have acquired the services of Scott Flinders.”

Flinders has had busier afternoons than the one he encountered on Saturday, although Hartlepool failed to make the most of it.

While Andy Monkhouse saw a first-half shot zip narrowly wide, it was not until the latter stages Cooper’s men looked more dangerous.

Luke James, who has ten goals for the club, forced Portsmouth goalkeeper Trevor Carson in to a low stop. Then the former Sunderland shot-stopper had to be alert to tip over a rasping drive from Matty Dolan.

There were occasional scares for the visitors when full-back Michael Duckworth broke down the line, but otherwise 0-0 was a fair result.

Hartlepool are now seven points shy of a top-seven place.

Cooper said: “We all have an opportunity to get through to January and then we will see if there is anything we can do to improve it.

“I am not disappointed with where we are. I’m not totally disappointed with the point, but I would have loved to have won.

“We both huffed and puffed without giving each other a load of problems.”

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