Hartlepool United boss Ronnie Moore blasts strikers’ display

Marlon Harewood in action for Hartlepool United against Stevenage. Picture by FRANK REID

Marlon Harewood in action for Hartlepool United against Stevenage. Picture by FRANK REID

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RONNIE Moore would have dragged BOTH Marlon Harewood and Marvin Morgan off at half-time in the defeat to Stevenage if he’d had another striker on the bench.

The pair produced a toothless first-half showing which left Pools trailing 1-0 at the break to a physical Stevenage side.

Moore opted to hook Harewood at the break, with Scott Fenwick coming on and scoring within four minutes to equalise for Pools.

But a second-half brace from Ben Kennedy left Pools beaten and Moore deeply frustrated.

“The strikers first-half weren’t good enough and we hope that’s a one-off for them,” slammed Moore.

“Both were poor from the start and if I had another striker I would have changed them both.

“I could have taken off either Marlon or Marv to be honest.

“The ball was coming back far too quickly and far too easily.

“Words were said at half-time but if they had showed that feeling out there on the pitch then I wouldn’t be doing it.

“I have to make a decision, and like I said to Marv, it could be you, it could be him.

“It was heads or tails who came off – you go with a gut feeling.

“Scott was struggling a bit with his ankle but if I wanted to start him, I could have done.

“But we had won in midweek and Marlon’s hold-up play was good against Northampton and brought people into play.

“That wasn’t there against Stevenage.

“They were physically stronger and shouldn’t be.

“You have to back in and make it hard but we couldn’t get out because we weren’t holding the ball up.

“[Being bullied] can be mental as well as physical, it depends how big your heart is.

“If you have a big heart, you will fight the world but if you have a peanut in there you will be struggling.”

Pools had won their previous three games at Victoria Park and Moore admitted the poor team performance had “shocked” him – with several players having an off day along with the front two.

Defeat means Pools are now seven points from safety in Sky Bet League Two.

He added: “Harsh words were said at half-time and full-time.

“We looked like we had turned a corner but you cannot turn in those performances.

“That is why we are where we are.

“You think you have cracked it and then put in a performance like that.”

Moore also slammed the defending for the first goal, in particular Michael Duckworth, who didn’t deal with a diagonal 60-yard pass, which allowed Dave Martin to score.

He added: “First goal was Sunday League defending, then second from a set-play.

“You cannot concede the goals we did.

“They worked hard up front and that’s what we needed but we didn’t get it.

“The ball doesn’t stick and it’s hard.

“When the defenders were put under pressure they didn’t defend like they can.”