RITCHIE Humphreys admits that the Hartlepool United players were left “gutted” after failing to make pay their one-man advantage during last night’s 1-0 defeat at Carlisle United.
The Pools squad remained in the visiting dressing room for 20 minutes after the full-time whistle as they reflected on a second-half in which the ten-man hosts nicked the only goal.
Humphreys had replaced the stricken Antony Sweeney in first-half injury-time after the midfielder was on the receiving end of the challenge which saw Liam Noble shown a straight red card.
But Mick Wadsworth’s men lacked the guile to break down the Cumbrians and were unable to force home keeper Adam Collin into a save of note – something which frustrated the club captain.
“It was bitterly disappointing because when they’re down to 10-men the onus is on us to come out and attack,” Humphreys told SportMail after Francois Zoko’s 67th-minute scissor-kick condemned Pools to defeat.
“But we weren’t at it from the off and we didn’t make it count.
“They produced a bit if quality in the box and we just didn’t make them defend their box as much as we should have.
“We didn’t put their keeper or their back four under any pressure.
“We had a lot of decent possession in wide areas but couldn’t turn that into anything and that was frustrating.”
Record-appearance holder Humphreys had seen last night’s trip across the A69 as the chance to strengthen their play-off claims.
The result, however, leaves Pools 11 points adrift of sixth-placed MK Dons.
But Humphreys is targeting a winning remedy to that disappointment when the resurgent Plymouth Argyle visit Victoria Park on Saturday afternoon.
“We’d put ourselves in a great position with a couple of good wins recently and this was a chance to build on that,” he added.
“So from that point of view the performance and result were disappointing and the lads are gutted.
“We’ll have to go away and look at our performances – we need to look at what we could do better if we’re ever in that situation again.
“But we’re an honest bunch and by Thursday morning hopefully it will be out of our system and we can look forward to Saturday.
“Plymouth are a team who are playing without as much pressure (after their 10-point deduction) and it’ll be difficult, as will Leyton Orient at home next Tuesday.
“But we’ve put in some fantastic performances in these past couple of weeks and we’ve got to remember that games like last night will happen.
“It’s about how we respond, we’ve talked about that and I expect us to put things right this weekend.”