NEALE Cooper was given “nothing” to think about by Hartlepool United’s understudies during the second-string season opener.
That was the verdict of a disappointed coach John Hewitson following yesterday’s 4-0 defeat at home to Chesterfield.
In the absence of Micky Barron – away on a sports management course – it was head of youth development Hewitson who took care of the side alongside first-team chief Cooper.
But a lacklustre display, strewn with defensive errors, allowed the more experienced visitors to run out easy winners.
And Hewitson told SportMail: “That was nowhere near what we would expect a Hartlepool United team at any level to play like.
“It is hard for Neale to watch that and pick anybody who deserves to be in the first-team.
“He wants to see which players are knocking on the door, but he was given nothing to think about.
“The boys have to work hard for their place in the senior squad, not just expect it.
“You have to earn that right to be involved but performances like that just aren’t good enough.
“There weren’t many positives at all.”
The Spireites capitalised on Pools’ defensive frailties to build a two-goal cushion with strikes either side of half-time from Scott Boden and Mark Randall.
Jacob Hazel added two more late on to compound a sorry afternoon for the hosts.
And Hewitson went on: “We just kept on making silly, individual mistakes.
“The older Chesterfield players thrived on our errors.
“We expect them to defend with passion and a bit more fight.
“We expect them to express themselves more when they have the ball as well.
“So I was surprised at how poorly we played.
“All the lads can do is look to the next game to put things right and try to catch the eye of the manager.”