Hartlepool United are trying to walk the ball into the net instead of putting their foot through it.
That was the anguished cry from boss Dave Jones after seeing Pools slip ever near the Football League’s trapdoor.
We are trying to score the perfect goal. We worked so hard to get there but we didn’t finish itDAVE JONES
Pools were fully deserving of their point at Morecambe on Saturday when they ended their run of three straight defeats with a 1-1 draw, courtesy of Padraig Amond’s 14th goal of the season.
But while Jones’s side were sharing the spoils at the Globe Arena, Newport County were winning 1-0 at Exeter City to close the gap to a mere three points with five games to go.
Pools have as good a run-in as any team at the foot of League Two but Jones is frustrated that his players are not taking on the challenge of letting their shots go.
That was highlighted at the death when Nicky Featherstone had an opportunity to have a crack from the edge of the box but instead tried to play in Amond, only to over-hit the ball with the Shrimps surviving.
“He has to shoot,” shrugged Jones.
“What was he, 18 yards in front of goal? He has to shoot from there.
“We are trying to score the perfect goal. We worked so hard to get there but we didn’t finish it.”
Featherstone was not alone, with another of promising positions squandered either with a poor shot or pass.
“We got in areas where we could do some harm, but final thing is letting us down, inside the box we pass instead of shooting,” he said.
“Sometimes we have to risk certain things or shots.
“If it’s there have a poke at it, before the goalkeeper can set himself.
“Our goal was good, we had been playing well for half an hour and found a piece of quality.
“It’s no good having all the ball if you don’t do some damage with it.
“We did a bit of damage by scoring a good goal, but we got into those positions four or five times and we should have had more than one.
“Rhys [Oates] went through and tries to score from an impossible angle – people have to scream for it to pull him back.
“It’s about gaining experience, to become getting better, but little things are costing us.
“We said at half time we needed to be better with that final ball, we got into so many good areas, crossing positions when we choose the wrong ball.
“In the second half we needed to shoot and these are all the things we are trying to put into them.”
Jones unhappy that Pools tamely found the home wall from free-kicks in tremendous positions – Brad Walker in the first half and Amond in the second.
He wants to see his players more decisive.
“We’re a little tentative on free-kicks,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure we’re getting it on target, whereas normally you’d step up and whip them in.
“But I can’t complain about the lads, they worked hard and won us a point
“We go again at home now against Carlisle on Friday.”