Hartlepool Utd put Crewe drubbing behind them to face Swimdon

Peter Hartley.  Picture by FRANK REID
Peter Hartley. Picture by FRANK REID

PETER Hartley has revealed that Hartlepool United’s players were left with no choice but to use a light-hearted remedy to their opening-weekend collapse.

Pools enter into tomorrow’s League One curtain-raiser against Swindon Town on the back of a 5-0 humiliation in the Capital One Cup at Crewe Alexandra six days ago.

Hartley and co sifted through the wreckage of that game at Maiden Castle on Tuesday, and the Player of the Season admits it made for painful viewing.

But the defender says that, such was the “comical” nature of some of their mistakes, the Pools squad could not hide their embarrassment.

“We’ve looked at the game and we’ll learn from the mistakes,” he said.

“We laughed as well because some of them were comical – that might sound strange but I think it’s the best to move on from it.

“It’s a good way to get your morale back and we have to stick together like that.

“We know it wasn’t good enough and it hurt.

“But last Saturday is gone – if you get beat 10-0 or get beat on penalties, you’re out the cup either way, so we’ve got to move on from it.

“We’re just buzzing to get out there now and already it’s a huge game for us.”

It was Hartley who conceded the free-kick which led to Crewe’s first after just seven minutes, and he went on: “I actually thought we started well but then conceded the first and it was downhill from there.

“I should have stayed on my feet for the free-kick really.

“But we dealt with that and then the second ball dropped and it was a great finish. “But there’s no getting away from the fact that defensively we were very poor.

“I don’t know whether we looked a little bit tired and we didn’t have a full week to prepare.”

Hartley went on: “But last Saturday could have been 5-5 – we created a lot of chances.

“We conceded five goals but still could have won the game, that’s credit to the forward lads.

“But we’ve got to get the defence right and we’ve got to get our heads on at the back.

“Look at the pre-season games, we were hard to beat and were set.

“But we didn’t give ourselves a chance last weekend.”