Graeme Lee reacts to Hartlepool United's defeat to Port Vale at the Suit Direct Stadium after former Harrogate Town man grabs winner

Graeme Lee has lamented Hartlepool United’s lack of threat from set pieces after being undone by one themselves against Port Vale.

By Joe Ramage
Friday, 15th April 2022, 6:06 pm

Pools were spirited in their defeat to high-flying Vale and were the better of the two teams in the opening 45 minutes.

But the visitors stepped things up after the break and grabbed the only goal of the game through Conor Hall’s back post header after Pools failed to clear their lines from a corner.

And Lee believes those fine margins are what separates his team from those at the top of the division.

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Graeme Lee reacts to Hartlepool United's defeat to Port Vale at the Suit Direct Stadium. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

“First half I was very pleased,” said Lee.

“We were competitive, we were in the game and we were matching them and creating opportunities.

“Second half we invited them on and nearly scored an own goal within 10 seconds of the half by not going forward.

“Second half we lacked that real intent and the game got stretched.

“It wasn’t one of them games where they were dominating us. We allowed them to come into the game and build momentum.

“We could have put the ball in behind them and had runners, we didn’t and they came at us and we conceded the corner and the second phase of the corner they scored.

“You go through other teams and they score goals from set plays or second phases of set plays and we don’t.

“Them set plays can make you 10-15 points in a season if you do it right and at the moment we’re not causing anyone problems and other teams look a threat at set plays. And that was the difference in the game.”

Things might have been different for Pools had they been awarded a penalty in the first half after it appeared Aaron Martin had handled in the area from David Ferguson’s corner.

Lee insists he did not see the decision however but admits those are the things going against his side at the moment.

“I couldn’t see it from my angle but I saw the reaction of the players and they’re all up and adamant it was a handball.

“It’s something I’ll have to watch back again but you can’t change that decision. Little things like that are what make or break the game.”