14 August 2021

Mark Cooper felt Barrow lacked quality despite Hartlepool win

14 August 2021

Barrow manager Mark Cooper was not overly impressed by the quality served up by his new team in an exciting 3-2 victory over Hartlepool.

But Cooper could not have been happier with the effort of his side, following up a midweek Carabao Cup success over Scunthorpe.

Dimitri Sea came off the bench to score the winner for a second time in five days.

However, the French prospect suffered a late head knock and is likely to be ruled out for the Bluebirds’ visit of Exeter on Tuesday.

Offrande Zanzala, who infuriated home fans by scoring in last season’s Cumbrian derby for Carlisle at Holker Street, was forgiven when he fired in the opening goal after just three minutes.

Josh Gordon restored Barrow’s lead early in the second half following an equaliser from Pools new-boy Tyler Burey.

And though on-loan teenager Will Goodwin announced himself to more than 600 travelling Hartlepool supporters with an equaliser on his debut, Sea seized the moment 17 minutes from time with the visitors appealing for offside.

“It wasn’t a classic in terms of football and we didn’t play well,” said Cooper. “I can question a lot of things but I can’t question the attitude. They keep surprising me with how much commitment they show.

“If you don’t concede goals from crosses in League Two you will get positive results.

“But it was end-to-end, it was physical, and I can’t question the spirit. I can question a lot of things, but I can’t question the attitude.

“They keep surprising me with how much commitment they have.”

French hero Sea had to make do with a place on the bench after his cup heroics but showed he has an eye for goal once again.

“Dimitri played 90 minutes the other night so we have to look after him,” said Cooper.

“We are just injuries waiting to happen. The lads were out on their feet.

“So we need to get as few people injured in the next two or three weeks.

“Unfortunately, Dimitri got a bang on the head so we had to take him off as a precaution.”

Cooper was quick to praise the efforts of his other goal scorers, especially man-of-the-match Gordon.

“Josh needed that goal,” Cooper said. “He has been outstanding and never stopped again. If he works as hard as he does he gets in the team. He has been eating himself up, though, so I was really pleased he got his goal.”

On Zanzala, Cooper added: “Zanz was electric in that first five minutes. But he eventually blew up because he hasn’t been able to do enough (training).

“I should have brought him off at half-time, but I was just trying to get him fit by giving him more minutes.

“However, he has got power, pace, he is aggressive and can score.”

Pools manager Dave Challinor said: “The first goal for me is a mistake from the officials. It is a blatant foul the linesman hasn’t seen.

“Whether they are brave enough to say ‘I haven’t seen it’, but it was a blatant pull.

“That put us on the back foot but I thought we were bright and got a deserved equaliser.

“At half-time I was really confident and positive in terms of where we were at. But then we conceded an horrific goal after two or three minutes.

“We worked extremely hard to get ourselves back in it and then threw it away again.

“It’s synonymous with what I saw in pre-season. Defensively it was really poor, and individuals were really poor in my opinion.

“It makes no difference, we concede after two or three minutes (of each half). If footballers don’t think the start of halves are important, I suggest they won’t be playing football for very long. And that might be the case for some of them.”

Challinor praised the efforts of teenage debutant Will Goodwin, saying: “He was a real threat in a role which was difficult.”

On Millwall loanee Burey, the Pools boss added: “He needs to listen to what he is being told.

“He needs to do what we ask him to do otherwise if he doesn’t have the impact in the areas we want him to, I have no choice but to not play him.”

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