PAUL Murray admits he is facing a difficult task lifting his players after their collapse against York City.
The Hartlepool United manager had labelled the match an early six-pointer and refused to play down the importance of the League Two match.
What he wasn’t expecting was for his side to collapse in front of his very eyes at Victoria Park, gifting Russ Wilcox’s men all three points having gone into half-time leading 1-0.
Murray and his coaching staff will today look through a DVD to assess what went wrong, but he insists there were plenty of positives to take from it.
“It will be difficult to pick the lads up,” said Murray.
“But I have to get the negatives out of the way and show them what they are really capable of.
“After the match the players were upset but they probably went away thinking ‘for half an hour we should have been 2-0 or 3-0 up’. But it wasn’t to be.”
Pools had two strong penalty appeals, one in the first-half when Michael Duckworth was body-checked by Stephane Zubar but referee Eddie Ilderton waved away the appeals.
Then, just five minutes into the second-half with the home side still leading 1-0, goalscorer Scott Fenwick was brought down by Femi Ilesanmi.
Again, Ilderton was adamant there wasn’t a foul, much to the frustration of Murray on the touchline and the fans on the terraces.
But while the manager was seething with the decision, he refused to make it an excuse for the defeat.
Murray added: “I thought in the second half we should have had a penalty, for sure.
“I haven’t watched it back yet but Scott rolled their defender and he stuck his foot in.
“There were a couple of other contentious decisions too – Duckworth was blocked off in the first-half and Stephane Zubar was all over [Sam] Collins at set pieces.
“But we can’t complain about that too much when we gave away three goals in the space of 10 minutes.”
To add insult to injury, Duckworth went off injured towards the end with a groin injury.
The 22-year-old will be assessed by the medical staff at their Maiden Castle base today.
“I’m hoping that won’t be too bad but we’ll have to see,” Murray explained
Duckworth had been a bright spark in the first-half in particular, with his trademark runs down the right flank causing the York City defence problems.
Murray added: “Michael was at the forefront of the good half hour we had in the first-half and it will be an anxious wait on him.”