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League Two

Colin Cooper hails Hartlepool United 'heroes'

21 April 2014

Hartlepool United boss Colin Cooper hailed his players as "heroes" after securing the club's Football League future with a 2-1 win over Morecambe.

Behind 1-0 and down to 10 men, Pools responded with goals from substitutes Jack Compton and Jack Barmby.

With other results going their way, as their relegation rivals all lost, Cooper's men are five points above the drop zone with two matches to play but t he make up of the remaining fixtures means Hartlepool cannot be dragged into the bottom two.

Cooper said: "I said to the two subs as they went on that this is their chance to be a hero and they both were. Both were positive and looked to do things in and around the box. Both were heroes to win it, but everyone was a hero out there and I don't say it lightly.''

Morecambe, themselves just three points above the relegation zone, took the lead after 25 minutes. A deep, floated cross from Andy Parrish was met by Kevin Ellison whose angled header beat goalkeeper Scott Flinders.

Only a vital saving block from Darren Holden halted Jack Sampson from extending the lead.

Hartlepool's task was made harder after 58 minutes when midfielder Simon Walton was sent off for a foul on Jordan Mustoe.

Cooper introduced Compton from the bench and he sent a low, dipping drive into the bottom corner of the net from 25 yards out to level things up after 67 minutes.

The 10 men took the game to the visitors, keeping up incessant pressure, and they were rewarded with nine minutes remaining.

Barmby coolly finished from close range after skirting around Barry Roche after the goalkeeper kept out a Jonathan Franks shot with his legs.

``The sending-off galvanised us as a group and the older players took it on their shoulders to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. They wanted to do something positive,`` said Cooper.

"You felt it would take something to break them down - Jack Compton has a great left foot and Jack Barmby can finish.

"Jack Compton has ability in his left-foot and that was his most positive for weeks.

"Jack Barmby can manipulate a football and we have seen that - the way he did it for the goal was very calm and composed to drop his shoulder and slide it under the keeper is very good for a young player.''

Cooper added: "Today we put bodies on the line and it meant something - that's how every game should be.

"It's been hard for us all. We knew we weren't far away, but teams weren't battering us. We lost 3-0 at Burton, but they still gave us their lot and a lot of stern words were said to galvanise the group.''

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley cast a dejected figure.

He said: "The turning point was the sending-off - it's unbelievable how football turns around. It galvanised them and we went the other way, got caught up in it and the crowd lifted them.

"We lacked composure, snatched at things and didn't play our way out.

"We got caught up and need a couple more leaders, we are lacking quality. We shouldn't be struggling with long throws going in the box.

"When you play 10 men you have to do better, we crumbled and it's one of the lows, certainly the lowest point of the season - even those when we have shipped five.

"We have two massive games to come now.''

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