Can Stanley success prove another springboard?

The Northern Echo: ON TARGET: Andy Monkhouse scores Pools’ second goal against Accrington Stanley on Saturday ON TARGET: Andy Monkhouse scores Pools’ second goal against Accrington Stanley on Saturday

HARTLEPOOL United 2 Accrington Stanley 1.

It's a League Two scoreline that has previously proved a springboard for Pools; it's one which Colin Cooper hopes can kick start things for his side.

When Pools won 2-1 in Lancashire in 2006, the result brought a 23-game unbeaten run. They went into the game struggling to adapt to the bottom division after relegation, they came out of it unstoppable.

No-one is expecting such a follow-up this time - if they can go to Bristol Rovers on Saturday and avoid defeat it's a big step in the right direction.

Their goals against Stanley this time around weren't quite in the class of Eifion Williams or Ritchie Humphreys back in the day, but they should prove just as important.

Andy Monkhouse created the first and scored the second. Playing up front, floating around is suiting him.

This was between the Football League's bottom two sides. The last time Pools were involved in a game of such nature was in April 1999, when bottom placed Scarborough visited Victoria Park and lost 3-0 as Pools were involved in a horrible relegation battle.

By the time the end of the season comes around this time, Pools won't be involved in a scrap.

Accrington will, the way they looked here, already be down. York, so the general consensus goes, will not be far away.

Pools have played both, took four points from the games and are better than both.

They did make hard work at the end, winning by a one-goal margin when they should have been something like four up at the start of the second-half.

But a first win of the season was welcomed by Cooper and now, he hopes, it's the start of an upturn at Victoria Park.

He said: "We said after Bradford that it would boost morale and, as much as we were in control against Wycombe we didn't do enough to win. We battered them and they left with the points.

"We've battered Fleetwood, Southend as well and now Accrington at home so the win is deserved.

"You just want them to push on. They scored the first league goal last week, got their first league win this week, conceded a goal and still went on to win the game - all these little bits and pieces are building blocks along the way.

"But there's no let up. If you accept as a footballer, a sportsman, a professional, to be happy with that and just one win then you have a kick up the backside to come.

"So it's my job and Craig's job to make sure that we go to Bristol and are ready to give them a game and come away with something. I think we have enough to go there and win.''

He added: "But we have to get a foothold in the game - stay safe, create chances and try and get in front for the confidence to come back again.

"Football is about confidence and if you are low on confidence, it's a hard place to be out there on the pitch. If you feel great then you want to be there all day, every day.

"It's building blocks and we try and do the things we have been doing and hope the players continue to believe.

"We've had a first win, we've had two draws, so let's go to Bristol and get something.''

Scoring that first goal again proved imperative for Pools. Getting it on Saturday when Monkhouse scored laid the ball off for Jon Franks to crack in a low shot gave them a platform and some confidence.

They got a second before the break, as Matty Dolan's flick rolled across Luke James and into Monkhouse's path for an accurate finish.

Two goals up at home - it's pretty much unchartered territory.

They didn't freeze, but could and should have had more.

Neil Austin was pushed over in the area without a penalty awarded, Monkhouse knocked the ball in, but was offside when he put it home, and Franks had a shot saved and one blocked.

Yet the allowed Stanley a route back into the game.

A long ball was flicked on, Christian Burgess, immaculate and full of verve in defensive possession early on, allowed James Gray to get goal side and the son of former Sunderland striker Phil, who has been on the books of both Middlesbrough and Darlington scored.

Pools were helped defensively by the introduction of Sam Collins. In his first appearance since the opening day, he helped nod away plenty of balls in the area and drew praise from his manager for being "a head on a stick".

Cooper mused: "Sam came on, did a job for the team and we needed that someone with a magnet attached to his head to attract the ball and he was great.''

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