The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Gary Forster

HARTLE­POOL United boss Colin Cooper ad­mit­ted he could have no com­plaints after see­ing his side held at home by Portsmouth.

Cooper set his side out to get the max­i­mum haul on home turf as they went in search of a first win in four games.

But in the end, it was hon­ours even and Cooper felt that was a fair re­sult as he saw his side climb out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

“I think I’ve got to be happy with the draw,” he said. “Every­body sets out with a plan to get all three points and I think early on Portsmouth could have grabbed a cou­ple of goals.

“The game ebbed and flowed a lit­tle bit, but they had the bet­ter chances, and if I’m Portsmouth boss Andy Awford I’m ex­pect­ing to take the lead.

“They didn’t and we had spells of pres­sure in the sec­ond half where we pos­si­bly could have nicked it.

“I think Andy said af­ter­wards there were 15 or 20 min­utes where he was get­ting a bit anx­ious, we didn’t just quite have that qual­ity to fin­ish it off.

“Their front two will give most peo­ple a hard af­ter­noon and Jed Wal­lace has a trick and an edge, but they’ve not scored and we have to build on that.”

Pa­trick Agye­mang shanked a shot wide inside the first ten min­utes and Scott Flin­ders had to make a num­ber of key saves.

The away side suf­fered an early set­back as James Dunne re­ceived a blow to the head, and had to be re­placed Nigel Atan­gana.

Although Pom­pey boss Andy Awford re­vealed af­ter­wards, that there was no real cause for con­cern.

He said: “It was just a bump on the head. Our doc­tor was there, and we just took him off as a pre­cau­tion.

“I’m sure if it was the FA Cup fi­nal I’m sure he would have stayed on the pitch.

“I don’t think there’s any wor­ries that he won’t be OK for next week, and it was nice to see Nigel Atan­gana make his come­back.

“It was prob­a­bly a bit sooner than we would have liked, and he was blow­ing at the end, but that will have done him good.

“I keep say­ing we need to be more clin­i­cal in front of goal, and that was the case again.

“It’s al­ways good to get a point, es­pe­cially here. It’s not an easy place to come, but we felt we could have maybe taken all three.”

Atan­gana should have net­ted after com­ing off the bench but some­how blazed over as he teed up by Agye­mang.

At the other end of the field, Portsmouth de­fend­ers man­aged to snuff out Pools at­tacks, block­ing sev­eral shots although the home side never re­ally found a cut­ting edge.

After the break, the hosts were far brighter and had a sus­tained spell at the end where they could have per­haps nicked all three points.

But at the fi­nal whis­tle the draw was prob­a­bly a fair re­sult, as both man­agers seemed to agree.

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

STRETCH: Scott Flin­ders makes a last-minute save to deny Portsmouth

LUNGE: Charlie Wyke and Danny Hol­lands bat­tle


CE Portsm


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