CAPTAIN Matthew Bates has apologised to the Hartlepool United fans following last night’s 6-2 Capital One Cup hammering.
The 27-year-old, who has been handed the armband by Colin Cooper, admitted the performance “wasn’t good enough” and said he felt for sorry to the 79 Pools fans that made the trip and those keeping an eye on proceedings back home.
The former Middlesbrough, Bradford City and Bristol City defender partnered player coach Sam Collins in the centre, with Michael Duckworth at right-back and Neil Austin left-back as Cooper kept faith with the same defence.
The heavy nature of the defeat cannot of course be pinned solely on the back four but Bates admitted the goals were all soft.
Going forward, at times, Pools actually strung together some nice passages of play and managed to score twice.
But Bates felt the game was too open and that the away sided contributed to that, although he didn’t feel that Pools deserved to lose by such a heavy margin.
Gutted Bates said: “That was a very hard game, especially conceding six.
“It wasn’t good enough, simple as that.
“We scored two good goals and I think at some points we played some great football.
“For the first 20 minutes of the second half there was only one team that was going to score again but then we conceded at the wrong time.
“Just soft goals.
“I have been beaten 7-0 before in my career and that felt a lot worse than [last night].
“While the score line doesn’t lie, I don’t think it felt like we should have conceded six.
“But that is what the final score goes down as and it is just so disappointing.”
The match was frantic from the off with four goals scored in the opening 18 minutes, a hat-trick for Ben Williamson and a fine Pools goal through Jonathan Franks, who has been in impressive form in pre-season.
But Bates felt the open nature of the match suited the home side.
Bates added: “It was such an open game but I think sadly for us we made it open.
“We conceded three quick-fire goals in the first half and that really killed us.
“We tried to keep our nerve, kept persevering and in the second-half we came out flying.
“We got the second goal and if we could have got that third it may have been a different story but it wasn’t good enough.
“I feel sorry for those supporters who travelled down to the game.
“It was a massive, massive let down for them and a massive let down for us.”
- RICHARD MENNEAR