Scott Loach reacts to Hartlepool United's late drama against Sutton United
Hartlepool United know what it's like to win in the last seconds of a game '“ memories of Barrow and Solihull remain vivid.
So those best-feeling-in-the-world moments mean Sutton United’s last ditch equaliser at Victoria Park will provoke the exact opposite.
Pools appeared to be hanging on, determinedly, to the hard-earned lead given to them by a third strike of the season, from Rhys Oates, in the 39th minute.
But there would be a sting in the tail.
With Storm Brian at their backs, the U’s drew level nine minutes into stoppage time, the added play coming from the terrible injury to their midfielder, Craig Eastmond, who suffered a broken ankle.
Full-back Aswad Thomas’s cross from the left was helped towards the far post by Carl Magnay’s desperate attempt to clear and sub Tommy Wright lashed his shot high into Scott Loach’s net.
However, for all the home squad – and fad fans –felt low for Sutton ‘doing a Pools’, Loach insists it must mot be an end-of-the-world moment and believes Craig Harrison’s team are “in a good place” going into tomorrow night’s National League match with Tranmere.
“I don’t want to sound deflated, it’s games like that can win you leagues,” said the summer signing.
“We had games against Barrow and Dagenham where we took games we maybe didn’t deserve to, so perhaps things even themselves out?
“It’s still a point picked up and we’re still on that run of ours.
“We now need to go and get a win against Tranmere tomorrow night to keep us in and around it.
“No-one is promoted in October, but we’re in a good place at the minute.
“We know we can do better but I think that’s exciting because you don’t want to be at your best now, there’s room for improvement, we have some good young players as well as our experienced lads.
“The likes of Devante is stepping up to the plate and Connor Simpson is starting to become more physical.
“Moving forward they are going to be more of a threat and we’ve got Cass [Jake Cassidy] coming back who has that added experience.”
Loach feels, overall, that Saturday’s game – a very watchable contest – probably deserved to end with honours even.
Sutton were not short on chances, with Loach making three great saves while there was a clearance off the line in the second half when the home goal was coming under severe pressure,
“In the grand scheme of things it was probably a fair result,” said the 29-year-old keeper.
“If they scored their equaliser in the 60th or 70th minute then everyone probably goes away happy with a point.
“But when it happens that late you almost take it like a loss.
“Sutton are up there for a reason, they are a physical who have experience in this league.
“We dealt with them pretty well and kept ourselves in the game, unfortunately we just couldn’t quite cross the line, but we’ll go again tomorrow against Tranmere.
“But I think it’s another good sign how our character has come on as a team because I think there were games previously to the run we’re on when teams like that would roll us over.
“I don’t think that is happening any more.”