Ronnie Moore was left frustrated with the way his players gifted new League Two leaders Plymouth Argyle victory – and by a player who may well have been sent off.
Moore, overall, was proud of the Hartlepool United team who put Tuesday night’s poor FA Cup performance behind them against the title challengers.
Pools looked to have earned a deserved point when Scott Fenwick converted an 85th-minute penalty to level after Carl McHugh had put Argyle in front eight minutes earlier.
But Pools gifted the Pilgrims the winner in the last minute when Kelvin Mellor came up from right-back to finish well after Kal Naismith had given the ball away.
It was Mellor who had conceded the penalty but had ‘only’ been yellow-carded by referee Graham Salisbury.
“I’m devastated,” said Moore. “We didn’t deserve to lose.
“But it’s about game management – you can’t lose the ball where we did, bang on full-time.
“It was our throw-in, it should have just been hooked up the line.
“After that, the marking and talking has not been what it should and there has been two square balls and it’s in the back of our net.”
Moore added: “Surely the lad [Mellor] has to go [for the penalty].
“How can that not be a goal-scoring opportunity – Scotty was ready to head it when the lad pulls him.
“That should have been a red.”
While Mr Salisbury pointed to the spot seven minutes from the end, he kept his hands by his side on 18 minutes.
Pools had applied some good pressure and Naismith whipped in a good cross from the right with Michael Woods shooting for goal.
The attempt was blocked by an away defender with Woods appealing furiously for handball.
Moore said: “If you turn your back and the ball hits you on the hands, it’s a penalty.
“We had exactly the same thing happened against us when we played Crawley and Scott Harrison was red-carded.
“I think Plymouth know how lucky they are to have gone away with the win.”