Hartlepool United’s Matthew Bates believes hitting post in Notts County defeat shows how ‘fine margins’ will make difference in League Two

Matthew Bates in action against Notts County on Saturday
Matthew Bates in action against Notts County on Saturday

Hartlepool United’s Matthew Bates believes that his shot that bounced back off the post in the defeat to Notts County shows just how ‘fine margins’ will make the difference in League Two this season.

The defender cracked the post when Pools were 1-0 up, which could have doubled their lead before half-time on Saturday in the home game against County.

Two-nil up might have killed the game off

Matthew Bates

But the ball agonisingly stayed out and United went on to lose 2-1 to the Magpies, leaving Bates to curse his luck and the defeat.

Bates’ shot originated from him winning possession on the halfway line, and advancing forward with the ball is a part of his game that the centre-back likes to use when he has the chance.

“I like to step out with the ball from the back and it was a great ball in from Billy,” the former Middlesbrough defender recalled.

“I caught it well, too well probably, and I was off celebrating as I thought it was in.

“Two-nil up might have killed the game off slightly.

“Fine margins in this league make the difference – it hits the inside of the post and stays out, if it goes in, we are two goals up at half time and there’s a different outlook, and we could have held on for the win.

Pools went in front against their visitors through Toto Nsiala’s early goal, but County equalised and then took the lead in the second-half, hanging on for their first win of the season and Pools’ first loss.

As well as Bates hitting the post when Pools were leading, there were also chances for Padraig Amond and Billy Paynter, but they were unable to locate the net.

For Bates, the match was there for the taking.

“It was a game we could have won, at one-up you want to go and win it,” he said.

“We started well, scored and started the second half quite well.

“Then they got on top a bit and scored. It cost us the game.

“In the second-half they looked a different team, they grew in confidence, and we let them get back in it.

“Instead of us being confident and looking like we were going to score again we have them a way back and gave them a lift.

“They changed it a bit and they came out and had a go.”

He added: “I can’t sit here and complain about the loss as I don’t think we were that great.

“I’ve got to be honest and say we possibly didn’t deserve to win it, maybe a draw would have been fair.”

“It’s only early in this season so no-one is panicking yet.”