Ain’t no easy way for Cook’s Spire­ites

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Thomas Han­nah To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­

CH­ESTER­FIELD se­cured a play-off spot at the very least with vic­tory at Hartle­pool – but their sights are set much higher.

The Spire­ites strength­ened their grip on the top three, as ri­vals Fleet­wood dropped two points, to give them a five-point ad­van­tage over fourth place.

A re­turn to League One could be achieved over the Easter weekend and af­ter a draw with New­port the pre­vi­ous week, boss Paul Cook ad­mit­ted his side could not af­ford a sim­i­larly flat per­for­mance if their am­bi­tions are to be re­alised.

“Some­times people are very crit­i­cal at our club and we carry a bit of pres­sure at our club for what­ever rea­son,’’ said Cook.

“We have just been to Wem­b­ley, been in the top three all sea­son and showed great char­ac­ter to come from be­hind.

“We don’t seem to do it the easy way at Ch­ester­field, we do it the hard way. The lads gave their all.We were poor against New­port last week firsthalf, flat and lack­ing life and we couldn’t af­ford that again.

“We had loads of good play­ers out there, people in form and there’s some way to go still this sea­son. I stay calm and see how many points we get – if it gets us up, it gets us up.’’

Pools, who have now lost five games in a row, did take the lead on 25 min­utes – at a time when the game was just start­ing to spark up.

Jack Barmby’s pass found Luke James and he held off Nathan Smith, be­fore curl­ing around keeper Tommy Lee for his 16th of the sea­son.

But five min­utes later and the Spirieites were level – Daniel Gard­ner’s cor­ner bun­dled over the line from close range by cen­tre-half Liam Cooper.

Four min­utes into the sec­ond half and the game was won with a touch of class from Eoin Doyle. He took a deep cross-field Marc Richards pass, cut in­side full-back Dar­ren Holden and curled his fin­ish high and over keeper Andy Raf­ferty.

Pools couldn’t muster any sort of re­sponse, and vis­it­ing keeper Tommy Lee was un­trou­bled.

Cook added:“We want to be in there, of course we do, but so do five or six oth­ers. There’s some way to go – four games and points to play for. Last week it wasn’t our day, this time it was.Who is to say what hap­pens next week.’’

Op­po­site num­ber Colin Cooper said:“Look at the two goals we con­ceded, they are goals we shouldn’t con­cede.

“We have four games, I’ve seen the re­sults, I see where we are and we need enough points to make sure we don’t get dragged into it.

“It’s about do­ing the ba­sics well and hav­ing a pos­i­tive out­look.’’



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