CRAIG Lynch won praise for his Hartlepool debut on Saturday – despite seeing Pools succumb to two late goals against Carlisle.
Lynch, snapped up on an emergency loan from Sunderland on the morning of the match, was given a 24-minute run-out as substitute, replacing cramp-hit winger Jonathan Franks.
Pools were ahead when the 20-year-old attacker got on, but Carlisle rallied to stun the hosts.
Lynch showed some neat touches and movement, and boss Neale Cooper said: “Craig played well when he came on – he’s a good player.”
Lynch will be involved again when Pools head to Bournemouth this weekend, with Cooper eager to make amends for the Carlisle disappointment.
The Scot reckons a lack of discipline due to a desire to score more goals cost his men dearly.
Pools were ambitious to add to their one-goal lead when they were hit on the counter-attack, Danny Cadamarteri scoring an equaliser on 75 minutes following a free-kick.
Worse was to come as Neil Austin was sent off and ex-Sunderland defender Peter Hartley was forced off injured before former Pools man Matty Robson struck the Cumbrians’ winner five minutes from time.
“We had a few chances to win the game, but we never took them,” shrugged Cooper.
“Since I came back, that was some of the best football we’ve played.
“I think we were affected by a bit of indiscipline.
“At 1-0, we had two or three good chances – Stevie Howard hit the bar, the keeper had made a great save from Andy Monkhouse and there’s Anthony Sweeney’s header, on any other day he’d have buried that. There were other chances too. And if you are not taking your chances then you need to be better disciplined and protect what you’ve got.”
Cooper wants to see Pools carry the positives into the trip to Dean Court and work to fix the negatives.
So can Pools bounce back?
“Definitely,” started the Pools chief. “I think they’ll show a bit of character. They are all as frustrated as I am. I’m upset for the boys because there was a lot of good stuff against Carlisle and we’ve got nothing to show for it.”
James Poole’s superbly-taken, left-footed shot five minutes before half-time – after Howard got a header through for his strike partner despite being fouled – had put Pools in charge.
They had played some dazzling football but did not get their rewards, with Howard hitting the bar, Sweeney heading wide and Monkhouse having a rasping volley saved by Mark Gillespie.
They were just three of a multitude of opportunities created by the home side, who then fell away in the last 15 minutes.
Carlisle levelled when sub David Symington’s low free-kick was beaten away by Scott Flinders and Cadamarteri was the first to react to put the loose ball into the net.
An unmarked Robson fired the winner with an angled drive after Symington’s cross was flicked on by sub Mark Beck.
Coxhoe lad Robson got the last laugh on the Pools fans who booed him, and said: “I could pick my spot for the goal, sometimes you can have too much time, but I knew what I wanted to do.”
HARTLEPOOL: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley (Baldwin 81), Horwood, Franks (Lynch 66), Murray, Sweeney, Monkhouse, Howard, Poole (James 87). Subs not used: McHugh, Humphreys, Walton, Holden. Sent Off: Austin (79). Booked: Collins, Austin. Goal: Poole 40
CARLISLE: Gillespie, Simek, Edwards, Murphy (Livesey 90), Chantler, McGovern (Symington 69), Berrett, Thirlwell, Robson, Cadamarteri, Jervis (Beck 58). Subs not used: Collin, Madden, Potts, O’Halloran. Booked: Murphy, Berrett. Goals: Cadamarteri 76, Robson 85. Att: 4,474