RONNIE Moore believes the “fear factor” prevented his struggling Hartlepool United side from picking up all three points against Oxford United.
Pools took a deserved lead in the 53rd minute through Joe Ironside’s first league goal following a much-improved all-round display.
But they were once again left to rue missed opportunities earlier in the match as Danny Hylton swept home the equaliser in the 65th minute.
The point saw Pools fall further behind their relegation rivals, with the gap between bottom side Pools and third-bottom York City now seven points.
Moore did praise his side’s improved character though in front of the second largest home crowd of the season.
“We went in front but then we had the fear factor,” said Moore.
“We were good going forward and in possession, but we weren’t like Real Madrid – and you aren’t going to be at this level.
“We worked hard but in a tight game we needed a second goal – you could see why we are in trouble.
“After they got the goal, the fear factor was there and we retreated to the edge of our box.
“But we will work on it and get better.”
Moore, who replaced Paul Murray as Pools boss, took over the same day new owners TMH 2014 were announced in a dramatic week off the pitch.
The former Tranmere Rovers and Rotherham United manager said he couldn’t fault his players commitment and effort in his first game in charge.
But he was far from happy with the defending for their equaliser.
Wes Burns was given too much time to pick out Hylton, who got in front of Matthew Bates to finish and deny Pools only their fourth win of the season.
Moore added: “We looked organised and I wanted to go in at the end with a win and that winning feeling.
“So I was disappointed to concede like we did and that won’t happen again.
“I watched the Burton game and wanted to go in and throttle them, this time I wanted to go in and be kind to them.
“But I was disappointed with the goal and the people involved know that.”
Pools are comfortably the lowest scorers in Sky Bet League Two, with just 15 netted in 21 matches and that again proved costly on Saturday.
In the opening 45 minutes Ironside and Marlon Harewood should have done better while Michael Woods and Dan Jones also went close.
Moore reflected: “We had one really good chance in the first half with Marlon when the keeper saved when a dink would have put it in and then he made a worldly late on from Jon Franks,” said Moore.
“There were a lot of positives, we just need to start believing.
“We conceded, but we stayed strong which was good because I watched them last week and they folded like a pack of cards.
“We showed a bit of guts.
“The crowd can be happy with what they have seen with their work rate and we know what we need – hopefully I can put the rest right in January.”
- RICHARD MENNEAR