By Charlie Summerbell
February 15 2012
The honeymoon between Neale Cooper and the Hartlepool United team he inherited when he returned to Victoria Park is clearly over. Failing to beat Bournemouth at the Vic was a weekend disappointment, but losing at Preston in midweek was far worse than that.
Pools dominated at Deepdale, but got nothing for it … and Cooper was not at all pleased.
Preston sub Danny Mayor scored the game’s only goal 15 minutes from time with Preston’s only real threat, producing the sort of result that left most fans wondering what was going on.
After the first Pools defeat in six games, Cooper wasn’t as puzzled.
He told the Northern Echo: “We played some really good stuff, but have to put the ball in the net. We could have been five up at half-time.
"It's so frustrating and I'm angry at the opportunity missed. We dominated so much and came away with nothing and the fact that the substitute who wins the game gets their man of the match says it all.
"We cannot rely on the defenders every week, the front boys have to take responsibility and put the ball in the net.
"We need better quality in the box and we don't attack the second balls in there. I'm angry as we have to finish teams off - I'm not angry with the effort, but that we can't finish them off.
"I can't believe how dominant we were first-half. All good teams kill off the opposition and we have to do better.''
Against Bournemouth at the weekend, it was a game is few chances, but the point at least kept Pools ticking over, and it certainly didn’t leave Cooper so angry.
Before the Preston game he said that with a bit more quality going forward, Pools could win at Preston. How right he was.
Pools need to put it right at home to Notts County this weekend before they end the month with away games against Wycombe and Bury.