Goalscorer Austin bemoans Hartlepool United defeat to Luton Town

Neil Austin scores a penalty late in the game against Luton Town. Picture by FRANK REID
Neil Austin scores a penalty late in the game against Luton Town. Picture by FRANK REID

GOALSCORER Neil Austin was left bemoaning missed opportunities and sloppy defending as Hartlepool United slumped to a home defeat, writes RICHARD MENNEAR

The 31-year-old said Pools gave themselves too much to do after going two goals down to John Still’s Luton Town.

Mark Cullen gave the Hatters a 1-0 lead in the 40th minute after taking advantage of some slack defending before sub Jim Stevenson got the second ten minutes from time.

Pools got one back at the death – thanks to an Austin penalty – but it was again a case of too little, too late for the home side.

Sam Collins’ side actually had the better of the opening 45 minutes and should have been in front before Luton scored but they failed to take their chances.

It says a lot when the club’s second-top goalscorer is Austin and it doesn’t take much to see where the main problem lies.

“You don’t win football matches if you don’t score,” Austin told SportMail.

“There have been a few games when we have been on top but couldn’t score and the opposition then go up the other end and score.

“It is something that needs addressing.

“We are lacking creativity but sometimes it clicks, sometimes it doesn’t.

“We will continue the hard work on the training ground and we had done a lot on attacking play over the past week.”

Versatile Austin, again playing in central defence, said the defenders were far from happy with the goals they had conceded.

He added: “Conceding so close to half-time wasn’t great as we are then chasing the game.

“We shot ourselves in the foot again with their second and we then had too much to do.

“As a defender the goals through your head after matches and it is just the basics we didn’t do right.

“Following last week’s result [at Exeter] we were hoping for another win, or at least a draw to take to Accrington on Tuesday.

“They were strong and solid at the back and we struggled to play through them.”

Pools have only scored three goals in the league all season at home, Austin netting the third with his well-struck penalty in the 92nd minute.

It should have been Pools’ second of the match, Charlie Wyke was hacked down in the first-half but the strong appeals were dismissed.

Austin, who wasn’t best pleased with referee Paul Tierney’s performance, added: “It was 91 and a half minutes when I scored and you always think it is going to be too late then and so it proved.

“The referee knows what I thought of his performance all match but we won’t go there.

“The first penalty {on Wyke] was stonewall but the second one I probably wouldn’t have given.

“I thought it was a good tackle from where I was but I suppose you can’t tackle with two-feet anymore.”