Hartlepool United cured their slow start – only for the end to to go wrong against Carlisle United.
Pools had bemoaned a sluggish opening at Stevenage seven days earlier, but there were no such issues against the Cumbrians.
Scott Harrison’s first goal of the season blasted Ronnie Moore’s team into a sixth-minute lead, an advantage they held for 51 minutes.
And even after Jabo Ibehre had levelled, Pools regained the initiative with Billy Paynter’s 70th-minute penalty.
However, Pools subsided with Tom Miller and Ibehre scored to give Keith Curle’s side victory.
Keeper Adam Bartlett said the squad were frustrated they could not hold on for the final 20 minutes.
He wants to see Pools start showing a bit more nous in those situations and hopes Saturday acts as a lesson.
“We never really killed the game off,” said the Pools stopper.
“When it was 2-1 we should have been taking our time with set-pieces, throw-ins etc to frustrate them, just as they did with us after they got in front.
“They took their time and while it’s not nice when you are out there trying, had we been able to do that to them, I think they’d have got a bit ragged.
“If we had held out, they’d have had to throw bodies forward looking for an equaliser.
“But we conceded within three or four minutes and it has given their confidence a lift and damaged ours.
“It was a challenging afternoon but, overall, we should have taken something from it.
“We’re very frustrated, it was a very disappointed dressing room.
“Going 2-1 up with 20 minutes to go, I really fancied us.
“I wouldn’t say Carlisle were dominating us at that point, but they’d had a few chances.
“But when we got the penalty and Billy’s stuck it away the lads were over the moon.
“Then to concede within three or four minutes was a massive kick in the teeth.
“From that moment we should have tried to get at least a point but we couldn’t see the game out, we’ve conceded a soft goal, it’s very disappointing.
“We’re at home, we’ve been in front twice, we have to do better than that.”
You have to feel sympathy for Bartlett.
After starting the season with three clean sheets in his first four appearances, he has been forced to bend his back nine times to pick the ball out of the net in the last three matches.
But he said he enjoyed the atmosphere of the clash with Carlisle.
And, probably like the 4,000 home fans in the big crowd, he will be wondering what would have happened had Rakish Bingham’s shot before half-time gone in the top corner and not rebound off the woodwork.
“It’s a derby, they bring a lot of fans and it means a lot to the Hartlepool supporters as well,” said the stopper.
“It was great getting that goal so early and while they had some chances, so had we, and there were a few tasty tackles going in!
“It felt like a great derby day.
“It would have been brilliant to have got a second before half-time.
“Rakish has hit the woodwork and their keeper has made a good block with his legs from Nicky as well.
“Had we gone two up that would have been a massive confidence booster.”