Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett surprised by opening day display against Sutton United

Craig Hignett felt his Hartlepool United team had ‘no energy’ as they suffered a opening day 3-1 defeat at home to Sutton United.

Saturday, 3rd August 2019, 6:59 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th August 2019, 3:44 pm
Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Sutton United at Victoria Park (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Harry Beautyman scored an early brace for the visitors to put them in control before Gime Toure pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time. Will Randall then secured victory in stoppage time with a breakaway goal.

After all the encouraging signs for Pools throughout the summer, Hignett admitted his side’s performance caught him off guard.

“No I didn’t expect that, certainly the first half, I hadn’t seen anything like that in pre-season,” said the Pools boss.

“We probably had about eight lads who were off it and strangely enough, looked like they had no energy.

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“It was really disappointing the first half and we had words at half time to change it a little bit. Second half, we came out and gave it a real go. Sutton were in their half for the whole second half but we didn’t have enough quality to see it off.

“I said at the end to the players ‘you’ve had a right go’ the effort and everything second half’, I’m never going to have a go at them for that.

“The performance overall was alright but when you give instructions and there’s a game plan and you don’t want to see your team go away from that but they did at the start and again at the end when we conceded the third.”

“In away it’s good, it’s a reality check. We’ve got players like Rom (Crichlow-Noble) who’ve came from 23s football who’s had a wake-up call today and he knows he’s got to up his game.

“But you can’t give yourself a mountain to climb and expect to do it week in week out.

“When Gime scored just before half-time I expected us to get something from the game.

“We looked a little bit anxious at times but like I say, I’m not going to get too carried away, it’s the first game and it wasn’t a 3-1 because it looks like we’ve been battered and that certainly wasn’t the case.”