HARTLEPOOL United boss Ronnie Moore didn’t believe Michael Woods’ absence had an impact on the defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge.
Woods, a keyplayer under Moore, was ruled out for the season after suffering a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula against Wimbledon at the weekend.
Nicky Featherstone was last night restored to the starting line-up in Woods’ place, his first game since the start of January, alongside Aaron Tshibola.
But Moore refused to blame Woods’ absence for the defeat.
He insisted Pools had enough of the ball and should have done more with it in key areas, leading him to apologise to the 123 fans that travelled from the North East.
When asked if defeat showed how much of a miss Woods is going to be, Moore told SportMail: “It can be but to be fair to Nicky, he hasn’t played an awful lot of games.
We had enough of the ball in good areas and didn’t put the right ball in.Ronnie Moore, Pools boss
“He was in there with Tish, who he doesn’t really know as Michael has been the one in there.
“I would hang fire on that and see whether it was [Nicky] getting the cobwebs off him.
“To be honest though, that [area] wasn’t a problem.
“We had enough of the ball in good areas and didn’t put the right ball in.
“Also, how many of our throw-ins did we give away?
“It is basic stuff.
“They are professional footballers and that is why they are supposed to be better than an awful lot of people.
“There is only two per cent who turn out to be professional footballers.
“I can only really apologise for their performance.
“I have said I will stand by them all day if they give me what I want but I can’t come out and say we were brilliant after that.
“To me, it looked like an end of season game where we had nothing to fight for,” added Moore.
Moore was disappointed with the performance of his wingers, Jack Compton and Jonathan Franks, while on-loan Cambridge United striker Ryan Bird also came in for criticism.
“Some of the balls weren’t good enough,” Moore told SportMail.
“The wide men didn’t produce enough and it wasn’t one of Compton’s best games but I’m not blaming him, Franksy was the same.
“Young [Jordan] Jones came on and was bright and gave us a spark.
“But we needed more from Birdy up front, he looked a bit raw.
“He is better than that, he was playing alongside a young kid and he needed a bit of guidance but he didn’t get it.”