Oxford United 2 Hartlepool United 0, match reaction: Front quality was the difference says Craig Hignett

Michael Woods goes on the attack for Pools; Picture by FRANK REID
Michael Woods goes on the attack for Pools; Picture by FRANK REID

Craig Hignett said the quality of the front players was the only difference after seeing Hartlepool United lose out at Oxford United.

Pools enjoyed long periods with the ball in the game but were beaten by goals at the start and the end at the Kassam Stadium.

Promotion-chasing Oxford were given a dream start by Kemar Roofe's seventh-minute opener but had an anxious moment or two before Liam Sercombe scored three minutes into stoppage time to kill off Pools.

“First half was very good, but we gave a real sloppy goal away," said Hignett.

"Second half we did all right, had plenty of the game, but made some wrong decisions.

"We gave them a goal at the end which wouldn't have happened if we hadn't been chasing the game.

“They haven’t done anything to score the goals, from that point of view it is disappointing.

"We had them chasing shadows at times but it's no good having all that possession if you don't have an end producty.

"I don't think we had enough in the final third.

"That was the only difference between the teams, the quality of the front players."

Pools went close from two set-pieces in the second half when Matthew Bates was inches wide with a header before his flick from a Rhys Oates corner was cleared off the line by Sercombe.

"We had a couple of set-pieces we should have scored from," added Hignett. "There was nothing in the game."

Oxford: Buchel, Kenny, Dunkley, Wright, Skarz (Lundstram 65), Ruffels, MacDonald (Roberts 79), Sercombe, Maguire, Roofe (O'Dowda 57), Hylton

Unused Subs: Slocombe, Mullins, Waring, Bowery

Goals: Roofe 7, Sercombe 90

Booked: Skarz 28, Roberts 86

Pools: Carson, Magnay, Bates, Jackson, Carroll, Featherstone, Woods (Bingham 79), Hawkins, Gray (Oates 70), James (Duckworth 85), Thomas.

Unused subs: Bartlett, Richards, R Jones, Laurent.

Booked: Bates 38, Hawkins 62, Carroll 64

Att: 7,955 (away 277)