Hartlepool United were lucky, admits frustrated keeper Adam Bartlett

Adam Bartlett
Adam Bartlett

In the end, Hartlepool United were lucky to get a point out off Crawley Town, says goalkeeper Adam Bartlett.

But the stopper can’t help but feel frustrated that his side let yet another home lead slip.

Having taken the lead early on, courtesy of Lewis Alessandra’s first of the season, Pools were pegged back in the closing stages when James Collins netted a spot-kick.

This was not the first time Pools have allowed a team back into the game when ahead at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium this season. And Bartlett is frustrated. Although he accepts that in the end Pools might have left the Vic empty handed had it not been for the heroics of defender Scott Harrison at the death.

“It’s a frustrating day,” said the Pools goalie.

“They weren’t hurting us, passing it at times to no real affect and I felt we were good enough to see it out.

“It was a tame game, after the start we had we let them back into it. First-half they were on the front foot and getting half-chances.

“Game management there was that little going on second-half, but if we had kept our shape and concentration we could have come off with a win.

“I didn’t have a save to make second-half, it was quiet. I remember looking at the clock and seeing 15 minutes to go and knowing we were comfortable.

“They get back into it and then it could have gone either way.

“Scott’s challenge was a surreal moment. The lad whips a shot at the corner and it comes back across goal, it went in slow motion. I saw him take it down, he’s four yards out, I’ve had time to look across to the linesman to see if the flag is up. It isn’t and I turn back and Scotty is there.

“It’s unbelievable defending as it’s easy to give up in those circumstances when it’s an empty net. It earned us a point.

“In the end we come off with a point and were lucky at the end.”

Goalkeepers pride themselves on clean sheets.
And Bartlett is no different.

The 30-year-old’s last appearance in the league for Pools came on the instantly forgettable day down at Stevenage.
That day Bartlett picked the ball out the net six times and he admits he was hurt by that display.

Now Saturday was some improvement but Bartlett says he was hoping to cap the game off with a first win of the season, as well a clean sheet to boot.

Although he does think the Pools squad have been able to use the pain of September 3 to their advantage.

“I’ve come back in the team on the back of my last game in the league against Stevenage and I would have loved a clean sheet to help the team to three points,” he said.

“It was a way to get Stevenage out of the way. At 55 minutes we are 2-1 down that day but I’m thinking to myself that I’m doing OK, I’ve made some saves, dealt with things, kicked it well and then suddenly I’m thinking ‘blow the whistle’.

“Since then we’ve never looked back, it’s been a turning point. We have hardly conceded since then, kept clean sheets and tightened up. Defensively we have been better, it’s no wake-up call as we started the season good and steady, but a game like that means we knuckle down and regroup.

“If it takes a 6-1 battering for that to happen, then it’s unfortunate I was in goal that day, but we have come through it well.”

Reflecting back on the weekend, as manager Craig Hignett pointed out, Bartlett reckons after the highs of Grimsby, Pools were just a bit flat at the Vic.

Bartlett said: “The manager said it was a flat game and it was.

“I’m looking at Nath and thinking ‘go on’ and today it didn’t happen for him other than winning the penalty. But we didn’t get the ball out to him enough.”