NO-NONSENSE Michael Woods put Hartlepool United’s 19th league defeat of the season down to “shocking” defending, writes RICHARD MENNEAR.
The Pools midfielder was left deflated by the 3-1 loss to Stevenage and he pulled no punches in his assessment of the defeat, which left the club seven points adrift.
Hopes were high going into the game that Pools may have actually turned a corner following three consecutive home wins.
If they had managed to make it four wins on the spin, the gap would have been just four points.
But poor defending at the back and a weak performance in the final third left Pools beaten and Woods – along with the 3,000 plus Pools fans – deeply frustrated.
Ronnie Moore’s side had started well enough but fell behind in the 38th minute, Michael Duckworth misjudging a long ball into the area to allow David Martin time and space to finish.
Scott Fenwick equalised before more poor defending saw Ben Kennedy score a brace to wrap up the points.
“It was massively disappointing,” reflected Woods.
“That was a real missed opportunity and it was a case of one step forward and two back.
“We got a bit of fortune with the other results and the gap still only being seven points.
“But since the gaffer came in that was the worst performance we have put in at home.
“The three goals were shocking – all three of them were Sunday league.
“The first one the ball travels 60 yards and their guy takes it on his chest in the six-yard box.
“You see your younger brother doing that [type of defending] in the park.
“The third goal is a killer – he got lucky with the finish – but was the wrong side to begin with.”
The former Leeds United and Chelsea youth was also disappointed with front two Harewood and Morgan’s inability to hold the ball up and bring others into play.
As a result, Woods and Reading loanee Aaron Tshibola struggled to have the impact they’d have liked.
York-born Woods, 24, added: “The biggest thing was that whenever we got into forward areas it was just coming back all of the time.
“I heard someone at the end shout that the service wasn’t great [to our forwards] but I don’t think their two strikers can come in and say they had great service.
“But they made a handful of themselves, the pitch isn’t great, we all know that but at least have some guts to want the ball.
“It was a major disappointment, I thought we had turned the corner.”