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Morecambe 1 Hartlepool United 2
IT WAS Fergie’s Fledgings who made their mark at Old Trafford, the Class of 92 storming all before them.
On a different level, in League Two in 2014, Cooper’s Creche could be ready to make their mark of their own.
Fielding a team with an average age of little over 22 years, Colin Cooper is forming a real bunch of talent at Victoria Park.
Four points from two testing away games, at Chesterfield and Morecambe, have brought four points, plenty of promise and a positive outlook.
And it’s all been done with a bunch of young, promising players. Take out the elder statesmen - Neil Austin (30) and Scott Flinders (27) - then the average age is even lower.
Pools needed an injury-time strike by Jon Franks to win this one in the most dramatic of finales.
But anything other than three points would have been a travesty as Pools dominated from the start.
Cooper admitted he was a proud manager, as his young charges played a brand of football and showed character beyond their years.
“I’ve gone through every emotion there - but the only over-riding one is a sense of real pride,’’ he mused.
“A team with that average age, it was an outstanding display.
“We started well, got in front and grew into it. You need that clinical finishing edge and that we didn’t find it gave them hope.
“Their keeper made saves and they hit us with a classic counter punch.
“To win it makes me proud, a win from a gifted group of young players.’’
Pools did have one early scare – a cross from Andrew Fleming clipping the crossbar.
But Pools went ahead on 17 minutes. Matty Dolan, man of the match at Chesterfield on Boxing Day and full of energy and verve again, created it, swinging over a right-sided corner for Jack Baldwin to thump home a header.
The same pair almost created an identical second, but Baldwin mistimed his jump when presented with another header.
Pools football, on a rutted pitch, was impressive as they kept the ball moving across the pitch.
Franks tormented left-back Robbie Threlfall time and time again, getting plenty of joy out wide.
On the opposite flank, Nialle Rodney made his debut, and showed plenty of promise in place of the suspended Andy Monkhouse.
Flinders only worry in the first half was when he had to replace a contact lens.
Until he made a vital block on 68 minutes to keep out a close range Kevin Ellison effort he had little to do.
By then, Pool should really have been out of sight, such was their dominance.
Bradley Walker volleyed wide, Michael Duckworth, from another rampaging run forward, set up Franks and he fired wide.
Franks then cut a tasty ball across the face of goal before Poole bounced a shot into keeper Roche.
That second goal wouldn’t arrive; and so Pools were dragged level.
As the Shrimpers got more and more desperate, a low shot from substitute Jack Sampson squirmed under Flinders and into the net.
That was only the start of the late drama.
Pools broke, the ball was played into Franks. He dug it out of his feet, picked his spot and crashed his shot against the underside of the bar.
The Shrimpers instantly raced away at the other end, and Flinders got down low to keep out another Sampson shot. His second save, a block from the follow up was brave and vital.
Pools still kept going, and won it with 40 seconds of added on time to go.
Darren Holden’s long throw landed in the area, a stray head flicked it on and Franks showed composure to forget about his shot minutes earlier, pick his spot and earn the most dramatic of victories.
It was Pools’ first away win since mid-October and a first victory since November 23, ending a run of five successive draws.
“Morecambe held in there and neatly got a draw, but we deserved it,’’ added Cooper.
“I was so pleased to be ahead and with this group of players we know we can chase and get back into a game.
“Get in front and we are difficult to beat. We were pegged back and still showed the heart to win it.
“The group has boundless energy and the belief levels are just as high.
“If you have been around the block a bit more then you think about going home with something when you get pegged back. We didn’t think like that and went onto win it.
“Their defence and keeper have been put under real pressure. Morecambe did everything they could do to get something and we went beyond it.’’
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