Frustrated Ronnie Moore is looking for a rise in quality in all areas of the field for Hartlepool United.
After the promise of a 3-1 win over seventh-placed Leyton Orient, hopes were high as Pools visited Mansfield Town who, while sixth, had been experiencing a goal drought.
Football is not a 45 minutes game – it’s 90 minutesRONNIE MOORE
But the Stags won by the same scoreline and now Pools have another tough away trip tomorrow night at Accrington Stanley, who sit in fifth spot.
“If we turned up and played like we can do, we had a great opportunity to go three points off the play-offs,” said Moore. “Instead we hand Mansfield three points without having to work for it.
“We are so inconsistent.
“How do you play with confidence? After winning two games, I thought we’d go to Mansfield and put them under pressure.
“But we never started in the second half and that’s the frustrating thing.
“Football is not a 45 minutes game – it’s 90 minutes.
“And, as I’ve said before, if we can’t win, make sure we don’t lose.”
Moore was not only upset by the defending, but by the quality of the balls played by Pools in for the strikers who the manager thought were not at the races.
“It was too easy for Mansfield,” said Moore. “We don’t get chances like that – we’ve got strikers who don’t want to score at the moment.
“How many balls have gone into their box? Who’s on the end of them? No one.
“Until we get some clinical finishing in there, we’re never going to win games –we’re having to get two goals to come back because we are conceding again.
“There was nothing in the game at half-time.
“We said we had to keep the ball better, move it better and we did, we were brighter without that killer final ball.
“We got back into it at 1-1 and then we talked about it at half-time, we spoke a good game and then thrown it away – that’s what annoys me more than anything.
“I’m not saying that they aren’t trying, but we’ve got to defend better than that.
“At half-time it was there for the taking and I told them that – if ever there was a game to win, then this was it.
“But you can’t play for them.
“We had to show more desire, have quality in the right areas, but we never started second half.
“We gave the ball away, we couldn’t get out and their wingers tormented us.”
Moore says changes are inevitable for the trip to Accrington.
“How many do I change?” he said. “We have a decent enough squad on paper.
“We were good last Sunday, but we can’t go with the same side again that’s for sure.
“There was not enough umph in the second half.”