RONNIE Moore today hailed his Hartlepool United heroes even though they could not extend their unbeaten sequence to six games.
Pools had transformed their season with a brilliant run of four wins and a draw – 13 points from a possible 15 lifting them out of the Football League’s drop zone.
Southend got lucky because we pulverised them in the second halfRONNIE MOORE
Alas, they could not make it six games undefeated with Southend United winning 1-0 at Victoria Park.
The Easter Monday defeat was not the end of the world as Pools remained outside the bottom two after their rivals at the foot of League Two all lost.
Pools threw everything at the Shrimpers who are fifth in the table and are candidates for the third and final automatic spot.
Phil Brown’s side were grateful to Daniel Bentley for a superb first-half save from supersub Marlon Harewood and were even more thankful to the woodwork when Dan Jones’s thunderbolt rebounded off the bar and off the ground to safety.
Then in stoppage time, sub Lewis Hawkins went oh so close to a sensational overhead equaliser.
“The dressing room was flat because they know we could have won that,” Moore explained.
“Southend got lucky because we pulverised them in the second half.
“Phil was a lucky man to get away with three points and he knows that,
“I don’t think Southend will have had as tough a game as that for a long,long time.
“To be fair to Phil, he was kind in his remarks [afterwards] to us said there are a lot worse teams down there.
“But we are where we are because of our start.”
Pools may have started badly but there is no problem with their finish – or the passion and commitment.
“I don’t think there is any doubt about that,” said Moore.
“The fighting spirit was second to none.
“The crowd were up for it and they’ve got right behind us.
“I’d love to see a replay of the one that’s hit the bar and come back out.
“Dan thinks it is in but when you hit one like that you always think that.
“Scott [Harrison] said he wasn’t quite sure from where he was, the referee’s assistant was bang online so we can’t fault him for that.
“It’s just whether his eyes are decent or not!
“If that had gone in, then I think we’d have gone on to win.
“Right at the end I thought it was a chance [to get the equaliser from Hawkins].
“If it hits the target it beats the keeper for me.
“Hawks hit it well but it just went the wrong side, unfortunately.”
Moore added: “I’ve not had a go at anyone [in the dressing room], apart from their goal, I can’t really, can I?
“When you have given everything but have nothing to show for it, football can be a cruel game.
“We’ve played a team who I think have a great chance of automatic promotion and battered them.”