Rejuvenated Jake Carroll said Hartlepool United’s squad were gutted they failed to build on a great performance against Northampton.
Pools seemed to have taken a step forward against the runaway League Two leaders on Saturday, having the better of a 0-0 draw.
We came into the game with a lot of hope and belief from the last performance.
But they took four steps back at the Memorial Stadium last night when were brushed aside by former Pools hero Darrell Clarke’s promotion-chasers.
It has to be said defeat, and the size of it, was self-inflicted.
Matty Taylor led the assault with a hat-trick with his forward partner, Rory Gaffney, also on the mark.
All four goals were gifts and Carroll, one of the few to emerge with credit last night, said the mood was one of disappointment in the Pools camp.
“We came into the game with a lot of hope and belief from the last performance,” said the left-back.
“To concede such sloppy goals was so disappointing, which were down to individual mistakes and disorganisation.
“We felt really confident coming into the game and I thought we could come away with a win, but you can legislate for the mistakes that happened.”
Pools trailed 3-0 at the break but seemed to have been thrown a lifeline when Billy Paynter scored his 11th of the season following a slick move between Brad Walker, Luke James and Carl Magnay.
But Pools conceded a fourth straight away.
“We played well at times - we created chances, even in the first half when we were playing into the wind,” said Carroll.
“Before half-time Luke James has had a header saved and Brad Walker was really unlucky to see his free-kick hit the bar.
“We could have come in at the break only 3-2 down and only had one goal to pull back. But when we scored early in the second half I thought the momentum might be with us.
“But that fourth goal was just as bad as the previous goals. It’s hard to explain.”