Mick Wadsworth sees the positives in Hartlepool United’s latest defeat

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MICK Wadsworth believes Hartlepool United’s performance was “much improved” despite slipping to a seventh consecutive home defeat against Preston North End.

The hosts were denied what appeared a blatant penalty just moments before the Lilywhites broke and Neil Mellor smashed the game’s only goal on 21 minutes.

Pools responded and James Poole went close on at least three occasions to drawing the hosts level.

Wadsworth was cheered by the efforts of his men.

“I thought we were a lot better than we have been and it was a much-improved performance in terms of our home form,” said the Pools boss.

“But we conceded a very poor goal, again – it was a gift to them in terms of the momentum of the game and that side of things is alarming.

“We’re not staying in games and again it’s proved our undoing.

“But I thought we had a real good go in the second half without much dropping for us.

“The lads gave everything and if we continue to work like that for each other then we’ll come out of this difficult situation – I’ve no doubt about that.”

Wadsworth, pictured below, concedes that supporters – who greeted the full-time whistle with boos – have every right to vent their frustration, but he believes they, too, would have seen hope in the performance.

“I admit that it’s a desperate run of results at home,” he said, with Pools not back in action until their trip to Brentford on December 10.

“The supporters have every right to be frustrated with me because that’s my job and I don’t have a problem with that.

“But I do hope they saw that we’re getting back to something close to a good performance.

“I’m not disheartened but I’m disappointed.”

It could have been a different story had the officials spotted Jamie McCombe’s handball inside the penalty area after Peter Hartley had headed on goal.

Wadsworth admits that, with the score goalless at the time, it could have changed the shape of the game.

“We didn’t have the best view (of the incident) but the reaction of the crowd on that side was instant,” he said.

“Peter’s reaction as well said to me that it was a penalty.

“But then they go straight down the pitch and score and that’s the way it’s been for us at home lately.”

Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Horwood, Wright, Hartley, Monkhouse, Sweeney, Murray (Liddle 58), Solano (Luscombe 58), Poole, Boyd (Humphreys 84). Sub: Rafferty, Haslam, Humphreys, Liddle, Luscombe

Preston: Stuckmann, Gray, Morgan, McCombe, Coutts, Nicholson, Mayor, Parry, Doyle, Proctor (Forte 85), Mellor. Subs: Arestidou, McLaughlin, Carlisle, Smith, Forte

Ref: Waugh Att: 4,156