Hartlepool United’s Leon McSweeney says ‘We were unlucky’

Leon McSweeney gets in a shot from the edge of the Huddersfield penalty area. Picture by FRANK REID
Leon McSweeney gets in a shot from the edge of the Huddersfield penalty area. Picture by FRANK REID
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LEON McSweeney believes that Hartlepool United are unlucky not to be celebrating a double over promotion hopefuls Huddersfield Town.

It was the 27-year-old who scored the only goal in the reverse fixture at the Galpharm Stadium on Boxing Day.

But McSweeney and co were on the wrong end of the same scoreline last night as Anthony Pilkington fired what proved to be the winner after just 11 minutes.

Pools were much improved after half-time and poured forward in pursuit of parity.

McSweeney himself went close with a 20-yard shot after a cute swivel but Lee Clark’s men held on to leave with maximum points.

The Irish winger told SportMail: “Mick told us that the first-half performance wasn’t quite good enough but I thought we put them under considerable pressure after half-time.

“We came out with a lot more endeavour to try and get back into the game.

“We had a few good chances and if one of them goes in you might even win the game.

“I had one myself where I just lost my standing foot as I hit it but Andy Monkhouse and Antony Sweeney have also come close and on another day one or two of those go in.

“We’re disappointed that didn’t happen but there was a lot to take heart from.

“The response after half-time was excellent and we could easily have been talking about a draw or a win with a bit more luck.

“So if there is such a thing that was the right way to lose.”

Controversy and confusion surrounded Pilkington’s early strike after referee David Coote appeared to motion to blow for a foul by Scott Arfield on Pools defender Steve Haslam.

And McSweeney, who was booked for an innocuous aerial challenge late in the game, was far from happy with the standard of the officiating throughout a 90 minutes which threw up nine cautions.

“I was disgusted with the booking I got and there were poor decisions all over the park which gets lads boiled up,” said the Cork-born star.

“Towards the end you might have seen some nasty challenges because it was getting a bit out of control.

“There was one when I won a header on the edge of the box but got cleaned out and the ref went for the easy option and gave a drop-ball rather than a free-kick.

“For the goal there was a bit of hesitation and the ball was in the air and people seemed to stop.

“But we should have dealt with it, whistle or no whistle, and officials aside I think we did enough to snatch at least a draw.”