HONEST Simon Walton admitted Wycombe Wanderers winning goal in their 2-1 victory over Hartlepool United at the weekend was his fault.
The 26-year-old midfielder was caught napping at a corner to allow substitute striker Matt McClure to sneak in and freely head the ball past Scott Flinders to ensure the home side won all three points.
The goal was given despite appeals for a foul on Flinders but Walton said the Pools players were gutted as they had “shot themselves in the foot”.
Leeds-born Walton had been one of the better performers in the Sky Bet League Two match, which had seen Colin Cooper’s team take a 1-0 half-time lead through Jack Barmby.
But the Chairboys hit back after the break through a headed goal from Dean Morgan in the 52nd minute before McClure’s winner.
“I hold my hands up,” said a frustrated and disappointed Walton.
“We will have an investigation but I think it was my man that scored from the corner.
“There was a bit of confusion but it is a poor mistake.
“It is two goals that we wouldn’t have conceded in recent games and it is disappointing.
“Scotty shouted and looked like he was going to get it and then at the last minute he was either blocked or stopped.
“It went so quick and the man ran off the back of me and headed it in.
“It is a poor mistake, but it
l TURN to Centre Pages
is something we need to eradicate and not allow many more if we are going to push on and get to where we are aiming for.
“We got our goal through a good bit of play but the second half, in this league and away from home, you can’t make those mistakes.
“They have not really had to work hard for the goals.”
Afterwards Cooper was adamant that it was a foul on Flinders, the second big mistake of the afternoon by referee Andrew Madley according to the Pools gaffer.
The first in the only the third minute when Luke James was bundled to the floor from behind for what looked like a clear penalty.
Walton said he was right in line with the decision and admitted he was “speechless” it wasn’t given in Pools’ favour, saying it was the most “blatant” penalty he’d ever seen.
Walton added: “Everybody thought it was a penalty - I was speechless.
“I had the ball in my hand [ready to take the penalty] and couldn’t believe it to be honest.
“Everyone in the whole ground thought it was a penalty, it was a game changer and those moments matter.
“It may be easy for the referee to get in his car and drive home but for us it is a big ‘what if?’ and affected the game for us.”
The former Leeds United midfielder added: “The first-half was probably a good away performance but then yet again we shot ourselves in the foot with two sloppy goals.
“In the end I don’t think we could have any complaints.
“Away from home, no matter who you are playing top or bottom they are going to have periods of the game and we handled that quite well first half with Scotty making a couple of routine saves and then got the goal.
“But we definitely shot ourselves in the foot.
“It was two sloppy mistakes, and nine times out of ten that wouldn’t have happened.”
Defeat meant Cooper’s side dropped a place to 10th in League Two but they haven’t lost any ground on the top seven and are still five points off the play-off spots after defeats for Southend United and Plymouth Argyle.
York City, however, did pick up three points and moved ahead of Pools.
Walton added: “It was an opportunity missed but on the other hand if we can take any positives we haven’t really lost any ground.
“The games are getting ticked off now and if we are going to close that gap and be where we want to be, then we can’t afford too many more results like this.”