HARTLEPOOL United must be “more professional” if they are to climb up the League One table.
That was the verdict of defender Evan Horwood as Pools begin to look to bounce back from Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Carlisle United.
It was a match which for long periods saw Pools on such a high only to finish with a sadly-too-familiar tale of a depressing end.
The result left Pools seventh bottom going into Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth, who are three spots above them in the table.
And Horwood believes Pools need to temper their approach and protect leads – rather than going all out for more goals and risking leaking goals at the other end.
Pools played some brilliant football against his former club on Saturday only to be sunk by two late goals.
“It’s a game we can’t believe we have lost,” said the left-back.
“We were playing really well, but we need to be more professional and see the game out when it’s like that.
“We have to manage the game better.
“We’ve played a lot of games between us now and maybe we were getting a bit excited going for a second goal, we had the ball so much.
“Instead of doing what we did, we should have been looking at nicking a second.
“We are good at keeping clean sheets and we can do it.
“At 1-1 and down to 10 men and with Peter [Hartley] off we should still have seen it out [for a point].
“There was still only 10 minutes to go – if we had to spend 10 minutes in training kicking the ball out and doing the basics I’m sure we could.”
For all the desperate disappointment of losing a match they could have won comfortably, Horwood says there is much to build on.
Pools played some excellent football with Steve Howard, James Poole, Jon Franks, Andy Monkhouse, Antony Sweeney and Paul Murray all having chances.
“Overall I think the fans will be pleased with how we played, even though the result went against us,” said the Hartlepool lad.
“it was as good as we have performed for a long time, even going back into last season.
“We started well and I don’t think they knew what had hit them.
“They didn’t really trouble us, how many shots did Scott have to save? Not many really was there?
“He had top come out for a few catches but that was about it.
“I was really enjoying it.
“From back to front we were very bright –it’s just a shame that mad five minutes killed us.
“We need to use our nous a bit more and see a game out.
“There are a lot of positives from this, but it’s three points lost definitely.
“It’s something we need to address going into the next couple of games if we are going to get up the table.”
And Horwood hopes Pools will be “positive”, starting with Saturday’s visit to Dean Court.
“We have to take that form into the next game,” he said. “Every game is a hard one – everyone can beat everybody, you can’t put a coupon on any more!
“But we’ve got to make sure we go out and get the right result.”