Antony Sweeney highlights what went wrong for Hartlepool United after Northampton Town fightback to earn a draw
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Sweeney was speaking in place of manager John Askey after Hartlepool saw a lead slip for the second straight week when being pegged back by Northampton thanks to Sam Hoskins’ goal nine minutes from time.
Hoskins cancelled out Josh Umerah’s first half strike as Pools remain unbeaten under Askey but, with results elsewhere, see things bunch up even tighter at the bottom of League Two.
Hartlepool performed well in the first half and took the lead through Umerah who carried on when Northampton had stopped, waiting for an offside flag, before finding the bottom corner for his 14th goal of the season.
But Pools were unable to find that similar attacking impetus in the second half as the Cobblers wrestled their way back into the game with Sweeney conceding there may have been some nerves amongst the Hartlepool squad.
“If we had the answer to that we’d be able to rectify it,” Sweeney told The Mail when asked about the difference between the first half display and second half display.
“Subconsciously it’s probably a bit of nerves. The second half is always going to be different when teams change shape and personnel.
“It just takes that five or 10 minutes to try and find a way of getting through that and assessing it and how it will impact us. I don’t think we found the key to that. So there’s lessons to be learned.”
He added: “I don’t think our quality was quite right in the second half.
“There’s two ways of going about it. A team riding high in the league are going to put it on you. They’re 1-0 down at half-time, they made a couple of changes so we had to wrestle momentum back.
“You can do that two ways. You can either put the ball in behind and get players up and play percentage football or you can try and pass your way through that pressure. We sort of didn’t do either so the pressure was coming back on us and it told towards the end.”