Hartlepool United defensive lapses must be stopped

Pools keeper Joe Fryer is beaten by Kurtis Guthrie's header which put Colchester 1-0 up
Pools keeper Joe Fryer is beaten by Kurtis Guthrie's header which put Colchester 1-0 up

Dave Jones says he will continue to work on trying to stop Hartlepool United’s concentration lapses.

Pools gave as good as they got at seventh-placed Colchester United on Saturday, only to go down 2-1.

They allowed the U’s to break forward for the opening goal for Kurtis Guthrie, the forward getting between the central defenders to head in Richard Brindley’s superb cross.

And the crucial second goal came from a 78th-minute Chris Porter penalty after Liam Donnelly’s clumsy challenge on Guthrie.

Pools fought with spirit to the bitter end at the Weston Homes Stadium where Nathan Thomas scored his eighth goal of the season and his first since the 3-2 defeat at Barnet on the final Saturday of October.

Jones was happy with the football and spirit shown but not the switch-offs which led to the two home goals.

“That ball was on all the time for Nathan – but that quality, that final pass just eluded us at times,” he said.

“I’m disappointed for the players.

“The lads have controlled the game for long periods.

“For their first goal, we have a free-kick 15 yards outside their box and the next time we touch it, it’s in the back of our next and that cannot happen.

“Was it a penalty? I don’t know.

“What I do know is he shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place.

“It’s disappointing, they must have hit that ball 40 times in the game and you have to be aware it.

“As for the awarding of the penalty, if that was us I’d have been screaming for it.”

Jones said that his players “made it hard” for themselves by the goals they gave away.

He added: “For long spells we were the better team, but lapses in concentration cost us and we conceded two poor goals.

“When you are in control of the game, you have to get your goal and cannot give them away like we did.

“But I’ve said before it seems to be the trait at this club and we are trying to change that.”

Jones sang the praises of teenage defender Kenton Richardson, who was making his third League Two start and fourth appearance in total.

Despite Liam Donnelly returning to the squad after recovering from an ankle injury, Richardson retained the right-back shirt with the Northern Ireland U21 international replacing the injured Sean Kavanagh on the left side.

He was, again, up against a dangerous wide operator in Bren Dickenson but the 17-year-old performed well.

“Kenton hasn’t let anyone down,” said the manager,

“But he’s 17 and learning his trade and ideally you’d want to put him in and take him out, and we can’t at the moment.

“He got better and grew into the game, which is a good sign.”