Craig Hignett insisted Hartlepool United “didn’t deserve to lose” after seeing his side’s seven-game unbeaten run end at Carlisle United.
Pools had mountains of possession at Brunton Park but Carlisle sub Hallam Hope got the only goal of the night in the 55th minute when his shot deflected off Carl Magnay and looped over Trevor Carson.
The second-half performance was fantastic.
Carlisle were content to pile bodies behind the ball for the final half an hour but Pools, without Billy Paynter who limped off with a hamstring problem early in the second half and the absent Nathan Thomas (chest infection), offered little threat.
Pools did have three efforts in stoppage time but sub Brad Walker fired over, Nicky Featherstone had a deflected shot caught by Mark Gillespie, who made a superb save from Jake Carroll.
“We didn’t deserve to lose the game,” said Hignett. “The second-half performance was fantastic. I think their goal was very fortunate.
“It was a bad goal for us to concede, a long ball up the middle should be dealt with, but then the lad’s shot has flicked off Mags and gone over Trev. But that’s football, sometimes you get the breaks but here we didn’t.
“I can’t be disappointed with how the lads have performed. They could not get the ball off us second half, they have had to resort to long or diagonal balls.
“The only thing I have said to the lads is that we were missing that bit of care and decision-making in the final third, but their keeper has been the busier keeper.
“To come to Carlisle who are pushing for the play-offs and play like we did tonight was very pleasing.
“We’ve had a few (chances) at the end but maybe not had the rub of the green.”
Pools had loud claims for a penalty when Mac Gillesphey appeared to handle a Magnay cross, but the officials were having none of it.
“It looked dubious to me,” said Hignett. “But we didn’t get anything from the ref all night.”