When the going gets tough, Hartlepool United must be willing to put bodies on the line
Padraig Amond LOVES scoring goals.
But there was not even a hint of a smile when he reached double figures for his debut season at Hartlepool United.
The 28-year-old applied a deft finish to Sean Kavanagh’s cross from the left in the fourth and final minute of added time at Newport County on Saturday.
Amond timed his run to perfection behind the defence – sadly for him and Pools, that goal was purely academic.
The boys in blue were already well beaten, the all-white clad Welsh side completing a 3-1 victory just seconds later.
“I’ll only be pleased [about reaching 10 goals] in a few days, right now it’s not something I’m thinking about at all,” said the Irishman.
“Losing that game is disappointing.”
Amond’s last kick of the game was only the second shot on target from the away side – 84 minutes after the first.
“It probably sums up the game to be honest, we’ve been outfought throughout the whole game.
“It wasn’t good enough and very disappointing after last week’s great start for the gaffer.”
However, it was more than just the dismay of being turned over by a side favourites for the drop – it was the manner of the defeat.
Seven days after keeping a clean sheet against Stevenage, Pools were back to their generous selves.
The headers by powerful forwards Ryan Bird and Aaron Williams and a left-foot pearler by Dan Butler took Pools closer to the half-century mark – only Notts County have leaked more.
“We were outfought and probably out-thought,” said Amond.
“The pitch isn’t great so they’ve said ‘let’s turn this into a not-so-nice game to watch’, they’ve adapted to it a lot better than we did.
“We could not get the ball down and play like we did last week – we were fantastic against Stevenage.
“But when the going gets tough, we’ve got to be willing to put bodies on the line, do the uglier side of the game.
“I don’t mean Newport were dirty, because they weren’t.
“They were willing to do the not-so-nice part of the game.
“We knew what they were going to do – we were well briefed during the week.
“They’ve scored from three set-plays and it’s just not good enough.”
Amond rebuffed any suggestions that Pools were always going to be up against it given they were scrapping it out with a physically-imposing team.
“All the goals we conceded were preventable,” he said. “I don’t buy into the big guy argument.
“From the side it might look noticeable but if you get tight to them and stop them getting the run on you then you can’t head the ball in.
“The one time we got a bit of quality in [to the box] we scored. It doesn’t matter whether you are 6ft 2in or 5ft 2in, if the ball is put in the right place you can score.”
Newport’s boss Graham Westley may not be mentioned in the same breath of Arsene Wenger, Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp but Amond says County have developed a way of performing on a difficult Rodney Parade surface.
“Before the game, a couple of their players were saying they almost have two different sides, a home team and an away team,” said the former Grimsby striker.
“The lads said when they go away they try to play the ball about a bit but when they are at home they try to shot it long because the pitch isn’t good.”
Pools can bounce back this Saturday when they chase their first double of the season when Yeovil Town come to the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.
“We have to make sure we have a good week’s training and get the win on Saturday,” added Amond.