Football - Ward relieved as Rovers rally

Bristol Rovers manager John Ward praised his side for showing the spirit to snatch a late point in a 2-2 draw with Hartlepool.

PA Sport Report

John-Joe O'Toole bagged a last-minute equaliser for the Pirates after the visitors had responded to Matt Harrold's opener with a brace from Luke James.

Ward said: "There are more mental problems to solve with my team than physical ones. We took too long celebrating the opening goal and switched off for them to equalise.

"But the players responded well to falling behind and the second half was all I could have asked for in terms of effort.

"We are still learning as a team and I warned at the start of this season that talk of promotion was premature.

"There is still a lot of work to do. But the attitude is good and when we play like we did in the second half and the fans get behind us, this is a special place to be."

Harrold had put Rovers in front with his first goal of the season on 35 minutes. The tall centre-forward, who missed a penalty in the previous game at Dagenham, controlled the ball on his chest before blasting a right-footed shot past Scott Flinders from just inside the box.

Before the cheers had died down, Hartlepool were level, James netting with a low right-footed shot from just outside the area with the home defence still celebrating.

On the stroke of half-time, man-of-the-match James netted again from closer range after Rovers had struggled to clear a Jonathan Franks cross.

Hartlepool had already hit a post through a Franks shot on 31 minutes and frustrated home supporters jeered their team off at the half time whistle.

But Rovers were far more purposeful at the start of the second period and came closest when Harrold deflected a shot from Eliot Richards onto the crossbar.

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