‘Massively disappointing’ – Antony Sweeney shows frustration with Jamie Sterry following straight red card in 3-1 defeat for Hartlepool United against Forest Green Rovers
Interim manager Antony Sweeney admitted Hartlepool United were ‘beaten by the better side’ as they lost 3-1 to Forest Green Rovers at The Suit Direct Stadium.
League leaders Forest Green raced into a 3-0 lead with goals from Jordan Moore-Taylor, Jamille Matt and Matthew Stevens putting them 3-0 up at the break.
Nicky Featherstone pulled a consolation goal back from the penalty spot with 10-minutes remaining before Jamie Sterry was shown a straight red card for violent conduct late on.
Following the match, Sweeney couldn’t hide his frustration with the defender.
"I won't say exactly what I said to Jamie at the end of the game,” he said. “The level we're at and the competition we'll face, we need every player available.
"Injuries happen but for us to lose a player for three games and it be solely down to him is massively disappointing to say the least. I've told him that.
“We were well beaten by the best side. They are top of the league for a reason. We could have lost even if we played really well but we lost playing really, really poorly.
"We didn't lay a glove on them for long period, we'll lose games but the manner of the defeat was disappointing.”
Forest Green had a near three week break from league action heading into the game while Pools were able to train fully just once this week due to the midweek trip to Wycombe Wanderers.
“I'm not using it as an excuse," Sweeney insisted. If that was a reason then it's on us because we asked the players if they felt fit and ready. I don't think it was a reason but we were way off it.
"The first half was down to them winning every individual battle and we didn't get close to them. They fully deserved the win but we need to be better.
It's easier to play when you're 3-0 down and Forest Green aren't attacking as much. We wanted to attack but we didn't want it to end up being four, five, six, seven which it could have ended up like if we kept playing like we did in the first half.
“We got the penalty and got a bit of momentum but the sending off killed it. Going down to 10 made it impossible.”