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League Two

Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper rolls up sleeves for run-in

15 March 2014

Hartlepool manager Colin Cooper has called on his players to maintain their play-off push after making it three successive home victories with a 4-0 win against Bristol Rovers.

Pools followed up back to back 3-0 wins over Torquay and Newport with another convincing display at Victoria Park.

Cooper's side sit three points shy of the top seven in 10th place with nine games to go.

Pools took the lead after just 58 seconds when Marlon Harewood set them on their way with a close-range header from Jack Barmby's corner.

Cooper said: "Home form is going to be crucial in the coming weeks. We were fantastic and I can do no more than wax lyrical.

"It's the best start we have had all season at home.

"I'm delighted, we had some very good individual displays and collectively it was fantastic.

"Keep the ball away from our goal and we have a chance - that's the watchword.

"It's five clean sheets in a row at home now, which is a fantastic record.''

Pools added a classy second when midfielder Bradley Walker curled home a beautiful shot from 25 yards.

Cooper said: "Some of the play excited me. Bradley's goal is fantastic, the way he received the ball and struck it.

"To score so early, it's great. The second goal was sublime and some of our attacking play was very, very good from the off.''

Number three arrived after 56 minutes from Simon Walton's penalty before Jon Franks rounded it off in the 90th minute from 12 yards.

Cooper added: "We set out some statistics before the game about where we are and where we want to be.

"The run-in is going to be hard.

"Hopefully this sends out a message and makes the players puff their chests out.''

Bristol Rovers manager John Ward admitted his embarrassment at the thumping.

His side never troubled Pools goalkeeper Scott Flinders, except for an 85th-minute strike from Chris Beardsley which crashed against the crossbar.

Ward's side sit four points from safety, but face an anxious few weeks ahead.

"No complaints, absolutely not,'' Ward said. "I'm quite embarrassed by it.

"It's a long time since I've felt this way, certainly not in the 14/15 months I've been here.

"We went under a little bit tamely, not something we have ever done before - we have always fought it out and been hard to beat, but not here.

"We have been beaten by a good team, don't get me wrong - Hartlepool are a very good team and played very well.

"They have some very good players, but we have assisted with their goal effort and chances, but at the same time they have taken them.''

Ward, whose side have won just once away from home this season, added: "We are all embarrassed by it.

"We conceded after a minute from a set-piece, something we talked about before the game.

"The best laid plans of mice and men....

"Their second goal was a fantastic strike, and you put your hands up and say well done.

"We were still around the game at this point, but made catastrophic errors to concede the third and fourth goals.''


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