SAM Collins insists Hartlepool United must put the 2-0 defeat at Northampton down to “one of them days.”
The centre-half said he was as frustrated and puzzled as anyone after Saturday’s struggle at Sixfields.
It was his first defeat since returning to the side as skipper following the departure of Jack Baldwin and the injury to Neil Austin.
Goals seconds either side of the interval, both almost carbon copies of each other, by Mathias Kouo-Doumbe and Bren Dickenson, ended the unbeaten four-match run by Pools.
“I think you probably have to put it down as one of them days,” said the 36-year-old.
“It was hard judging things in that wind and the pitch wasn’t that great.
“Their first goal was a bad one to give away before half time and then we conceded straight away in the second half after spending 15 minutes talking about putting things right.
“That second goal killed us – it couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
“We’d just been talking for 15 minutes about how we’d be looking to cause them problems and then they go down our end and score a goal.
“It killed us and we struggled from then on.
“We did have a couple of good chances when Simon Walton hit the post and their keeper made a great save from Luke Williams.
“Overall, it was just one of them days.
“Everyone has an off day sometime.”
Collins felt, the goals aside, there was little between the two clubs and suggested the first goal was always going to be all-important, especially given the conditions.
“There wasn’t a great deal between us in the game,” he said. “Northampton didn’t have that many chances.
“They were fighting for their lives and them getting the goals when they did gave them something to fight for.
“If we’d have got our noses in front then it might have been totally different.
“It might have had a bad effect in them and we might have gone on to win comfortably.
“But they got the goals at a bad time for us.
“It was a tight game on a bad pitch and it felt like a bit of a struggle all day.
Collins believes the fatigue of a long week on the road – Pools clocked up just short of 1,000 miles in the back-to-back away days at Southend and Northampton – but refused to use it as an excuse.
“If you look at every team in the country, no one has done the travelling we’ve done over the last week,” he said.
“But we have prepared professionally, I just think we’ve had an off day and everyone has them.”