By Charlie Summerbell
March 21 2012
It looks as if mid-table respectability is about the best Hartlepool United can hope for this season, and while that is better than what was being promised at times in the first half of the season, it's not nearly enough for boss Neale Cooper.
Slumping to their first home defeat in seven games, 1-0 against Oldham, is not the result or the form expected of a team which not too long ago was being mentioned in the same sentence as the League One play-offs.
But while new on-loan signing Ryan Noble didn’t do badly up front, it was a weak Pools performance that allowed Oldham –no world-beaters, after all and with 11 players either injured or suspended – to win with a spawny early goal by former Sunderland defender Jean Yves M’Voto.
Noble looked useful up front, but as a unit the attack lacked punch, James Poole tiring after his return from injury.
Cooper told the Northern Echo: “Sometimes players need to be mentally strong. This was frustrating and I feel one to two have to show better and show bottle.
"Last ten minutes we have to bombard them and they (Oldham) did the thing in slowing it down when they could.
"They have had problems and fought really hard, it's frustrating because home form has been so good.
"We didn't have that many shots on goal though. We regroup for the weekend and need a reaction.''
Pools go to Yeovil on Saturday to meet a team which has produced a great recovery in recent weeks, though they came unstuck with a 3-0 midweek hammering at Charlton.