Craig Hignett has apologised to Brad Walker for taking a ‘goal’ from him - but insisted he made the right decision giving Luke James Hartlepool United’s spot-kick.
The manager’s decision was justified after James converted the 76th-minute penalty – his first goal in almost 13 months and his first in a Pools strip since April 2014.
If I was a player I would be disappointed not to take it, but I just felt Lukey deserved a goalCRAIG HIGNETT
But Walker was the player who had picked up the ball to take it after being brought down by keeper Barry Roche after James, ironically, was the player who put him through.
“Brad wanted the penalty, he’s blamed me!” said Hignett. “He was fuming.
“To be fair, the pen was all his doing, there was a great burst and he’s touched it around the keeper, who’s brought him down.
“It was all his own work.
“If I was a player I would be disappointed not to take it, but I just felt Lukey deserved a goal.
“He’s worked his socks off since he came back to the club and he needed a goal and deserved one.
“Brad’s a great lad, he said in the dressing room, a bit tongue in cheek I think, ‘it’s a team game isn’t it?’
“But since he’s come back to the club, Luke’s performances have been top drawer and I wanted him on the pen.”
Hignett said he felt a goal was coming for the 21-year-old and told him so the day before the trip to the Globe Arena.
James had not scored since Peterborough’s 2-0 victory at Doncaster last March while it was his first for Pools since scoring in the defeat to Chesterfield two years ago.
He’s threatened a goal since his half-season loan move from Posh, including hitting the post in the Good Friday win over Wimbledon.
“Luke has gone so close for so long without a goal,” said the manager.
“I felt it was going to be his day and I said on Friday ‘you are going to get a goal’.
“The fact it’s a penalty doesn’t matter. He’s off the mark and buzzing.”