Pitch was scandalous but that's not why Hartlepool United lost at Newport County

Dave Jones labelled Newport County's pitch 'scandalous' and claimed his horses have a better field than Rodney Parade.

Monday, 30th January 2017, 8:30 am
Dave Jones at Rodney Parade

But the Hartlepool United boss insisted he would not use the conditions at the famous old ground as an excuse for his side’s 3-1 defeat on Saturday.

Jones was unhappy with the state of the pitch but said he was more concerned with his team’s inability to defend corners.

League Two’s basement club scored all three goals from corners – headers from debutant and former Pools loan ranger, Ryan Bird, and fellow front man Aaron Williams with the killer third from the left boot of Danny Butler.

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“The week’s training had gone well,” said Jones.

“But how do you replicate that [pitch] unless you go to the local farm and trying to play football on the fields there?

“It’s shocking, my horses field is better than that, in fact my horses probably wouldn’t go on it because there is no grass!

“The pitch is a joke, it shouldn’t be allowed in the Football League – it’s scandalous.

“If it was my pitch I’d be disappointed with it.

“It’s impossible to play football on that, you can’t kick it without your foot giving way, but we knew and spoke about it.

“My concern was more about set-plays. We knew everything that Newport were going to do. We just didn’t deal with set-plays like we should have.

“Sometimes you have to put your foot through it rather than trying to play football and get on with it.

There’s no complaints, there’s no way they were going to score from open play.

“We knew they’d play for corners and free-kicks and we didn’t deal with them.

“I ain’t blaming the pitch in any way, Newport dealt with it and we didn’t.”

Jones said he would not accept Newport’s height advantage as an excuse for the way his side lost.

Both opening goals came from right-wing dead-ball deliveries from Craig Reid.

“They may be bigger, but I’ve played against players far bigger than me and dealt with it,” said the former Everton, Coventry and Preston defender.

“We spoke about it beforehand and we did a lot of work on it in the week and two goals have gone in from in our six-yard box.

“The first two were certainly stoppable.”

The mud-dominated, heavily-sanded pitch was not the only thing to trouble Jones, who was irked by an absence of plugs in the away dressing room among other things.

“Sometimes you have to accept that [the pitch] and all the other bits that go with it,” he said.

“But what’s all the stuff about? No electricity? The water running cold?

“Unbelievable, I thought all that went out years ago.

“Things should be better than that, but each to their own.”