PAUL Murray admitted it was “devastating” to watch his Hartlepool United side throw away three valuable points to relegation rivals York City.
Scott Fenwick had given Pools a deserved half-time lead, sweeping home his first professional goal on his full debut at Victoria Park.
But Murray’s side failed to capitalise on their first-half dominance and capitulated after the break - handing the Minstermen three goals in 10 minutes.
It was a must win game for Pools but the 12th defeat of the campaign has left them six points adrift at the bottom of the Football League.
Murray admitted he was left “scratching his head” after the collapse and was left wondering how it had been allowed to happen.
“It is three points down the swanny,” said Murray.
“We should have had them and it is devastating really.
“The performance second-half compared to the first was chalk and cheese.
“But I am not out on the pitch to sort it out.
“We have to do that as individuals.
“We have thrown the game away and it is really disappointing.
“We will look at the negatives today but I have to keep positive.”
Pools had dominated the last half hour of the first-half and should have been out of sight but missed opportunities came back to haunt the struggling side.
He has called on his side to be more clinical.
“We played the best half hour of football since I have come in, in the first half,” added Murray.
“It was nice to see that but we weren’t clinical enough.
“It was so disappointing to come out second-half and concede the goals we did, in the way that we did.
“If we had got another goal in the first-half the game would have been put to bed.
“But maybe at half-time some of the lads thought ‘We’ve got this in the bag, they are average’.
“You can never think like that because there are such small margins in matches.”
Murray said he had pressed home to his players the importance of starting the second-half well and keeping possession.
Yet three goals in the space of 10 second-half minutes completed a dramatic turnaround.
Two quick-fire goals from York defender Keith Lowe in the 53rd and 55th minute gave the Minstermen the lead before Jake Hyde sealed victory as York moved six points above Pools.
Murray added: “At half-time I said to them, ‘all you have had is a good half-hour, make sure we start sharper than we did first-half’.
“Yet, they were all over us.
“We were at home - we have to be the ones on the front foot - yet we handed them three goals.
“It is the first time I have seen us collapse like that.
“We can’t do that and I will maybe have to do something differently at half-time with them.”
York’s first two goals both came from corner kicks, with Sam Collins admitting afterwards he hadn’t picked up Lowe inside the penalty area.
Murray added: “I am very disappointed that two set plays did for us in the end.
“Going into the game we had done a lot of work on that.”