Hartlepool United 1 Plymouth Argyle 0

Emotions took over for Colin Cooper after a fourth successive Hartlepool United victory

Hartlepool's Luke James celebrates with team-mates
Hartlepool's Luke James celebrates with team-mates

Emotions took over for Colin Cooper after a fourth successive Hartlepool United victory.

After ripping Exeter and Mansfield apart in their past two League Two victories, beating Plymouth was a different story.

Down to 10 men for 65 minutes after Jack Compton was sent off, this was about being dogged and determined.

With the Victoria Park crowd playing a part in helping his players over the finishing line, Cooper was a proud man.

He said: “I got a bit emotional at the end, because not only did they maintain their discipline, want to do their work to complete the task, but they did it with real aplomb.

“Not too many times were we cut open or broken through. Scott Flinders was in the right place at the right time and is a good goalkeeper.

“The lads in front of him did this club proud.

“The crowd were outstanding. I’ve said before about making it us against the world, a siege mentality ,and there was a siege out there.

“We were down to 10 men, Plymouth had all the possession and sometimes it’s easy to crumble and blame everything else.

“The crowd got behind everyone. That last 10 minutes, we were under pressure, but the roars and support was fantastic.

“It was still going when we got in the dressing room and I said to the players ‘listen to that, take it, soak it up and make sure when we have 11 on the pitch they are still with us’.

“This was a scenario when we had to put our bodies on the line, defend our goal.

“As a manager and an ex-defender it makes me very proud.’’

Pool won it thanks to a piece of magic from striker Luke James. Up front on his own after Compton’s dismissal, he never stopped running and chasing all afternoon.

His goal was a fine individual effort, drawing a comparison from Cooper to the Michael Owen wonder goal for England against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.

Faced with three big defenders, James ran across and past Neale Trotman and his finish was accurately rolled across the dive of keeper Luke McCormick.

From then on it was about holding on and trying to see the game out. With the players keeping their discipline and shape, the Pilgrims weren’t able to find a way through. Flinders made a superb first-half double save and in the second half was always in the right place at the right time to keep out anything Plymouth threw at him – and there was plenty going his way.

His positioning was superb and the goalkeeper has only been beaten once in the last four games, and that a penalty at Mansfield two weeks earlier.

Cooper has improved Pool no end this season, the hangover of relegation is gone and now, while they still sit in lower mid-table, it won’t be long before they are making their way up the table to a healthy position.

HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders; Duckworth (Collins 90), Burgess, Baldwin, Austin; Walton, Dolan; Compton, Poole (Richards 70), Monkhouse; James (Franks 90). Subs not used: Rafferty (gk), Sweeney, Rodney, Walker.

Sent-off: Compton 25. Booked: Poole, Dolan.

Goal: James 55.

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE: McCormick; Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson; Berry (Gurrieri 66), Young, Hourihane, Reckford; Boco; Reid (Alessandrea 53), Hayes. Subs not used: Cole, Blackman, Wotton, Harvey, Bencherif.

Booked: Young.

Referee: Scott Mathieson (Stockport).

Attendance: 3,929.

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