HARTLEPOOL boss Neale Cooper praised Craig Lynch’s super solo strike against Colchester – but was disappointed when he failed to build on that moment.
The 20-year-old celebrated his first professional goal when, on six minutes, he jinked clear of two home defenders before sending an inch-perfect curler into the far corner.
Cooper thought that would provide the Sunderland loanee with the platform to go on and terrorise The U’s. But the goal was Lynch’s last notable contribution to the game and he was duly withdrawn in the second half.
Cooper said: “Craig seemed to just drop off after his goal – he looked tired and didn’t look sharp.
“I thought ‘he’s up for it, wow, let’s go’. When something like that happens for you at the start of a game it gives you confidence.
“But then that was it, which was disappointing because it was such a wonderful goal.”
Pools slumped badly after Lynch’s goal, with defensive frailties again to the fore as Gavin Massey equalised before Jabo Ibehre scored twice to seal the win.
It leaves under-pressure Cooper facing selection problems for tomorrow’s visit of Sheffield United, with the manager promising one of his centre-backs - skipper Sam Collins or last year’s player of the season Peter Hartley - will be dropped in response to the horror show.
“I have to change personnel at the back – I can’t watch that again. It’s torture,” declared the 48-year-old.
“I’ve given them chances and given them the benefit of the doubt, but that defensive play is criminal. I’ve spoken to them individually but it’s like they’ve never played that position.”
Colchester: Cousins, Wilson, Eastman, Okuonghae, Rose, Bean, Eastmond, Wordsworth, Massey (Sears 81), Ibehre (Izzet 90), Watt (Henderson 81). Subs Not Used: Pentney, Duguid, Morrison, White. Goals: Massey 39, Ibehre 43, 62.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Baldwin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Franks, Austin, Murray (Poole 67), Sweeney, Lynch (Monkhouse 56), Howard. Subs Not Used: McHugh, Humphreys, Richards, Holden, James. Goals: Lynch 6.
Att: 3, 471 Ref: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire).