Trevor Carson admits Hartlepool United’s young side will have to “grow up quickly” if they are to get in the right half of League Two.
Just six days after thrilling the Pools faithful – and the Sky Sports audience – with a 3-1 win over Leyton Orient, Pools went and lost by the same scoreline at another promotion-chasing side, Mansfield Town.
Pools were in contention at half-time on Saturday with the scoreline at 1-1, a 24th-minute Matt Green opener being cancelled out by a Krystian Pearce own goal 13 minutes later.
But the second half was a non-event for the boys in blue as the Stags scored two unanswered goals, courtesy of sub Adi Yussuf and Green, to seal victory.
So, how can Pools go from one extreme to another?
“If I knew that I would be the manager!” said ex-Sunderland keeper Carson.
“The gaffer has questioned are there enough winners in the team? Enough characters?
“I think you have to agree with him. If you win two in a row surely that’s a great platform to build on? But I think you need a good team with great set of winners, I just don’t think we are at that stage yet.
“We’re a young team and I think we’ll have to grow up quickly if we are going to move up this league.”
There was a feeling of frustration among management, players and, no doubt fans too, after Pools failed to really show for the second period at Field Mill.
“It felt very flat, just one of them days,” said Carson.
“When we came in at half-time, we thought things were quite comfortable and we said all the right things.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t carry them out in the second half.
“I think we had a bit of momentum at 1-1 but we didn’t manage the game well.”
Both second-half goals were well taken by the Stags – Yussuf’s strike was an absolute beauty and while Green’s clincher nine minutes from time was not the prettiest of finishes, the build-up was good.
“It’s hard to put your finger on [what went wrong] but the goals were cheap,” said Carson.
“It was just one of those frustrating games, one though we should really have come away with a point. It’s a match we should have come away with a decent point.
“Getting that goal back before half-time, the mood was good in the changing room, we said all the right things at the break, but we couldn’t kick on.
“May be we are not able to play with a swagger after winning two in a row but we should play with a bit more confidence and belief.
“It seems at the moment that we need to be going behind to start playing and showing that we can play.”
Mansfield: Jensen, Rose, Pearce, Tafazolli, Adams, Chapman, Clements, Westcarr (Yussuf 55), Nathan Thomas (Blair 73), Lambe (Collins 64), Green. Subs not used: Shearer, Jack Thomas, McGuire, Fitzpatrick. Booked: Yussuf, Tafazolli. Goals: Green 24 & 81, Yussuf 57
Hartlepool Utd: Carson, Harrison, Bates, Jackson, Carroll, Naismith, Gray, Magnay, Oyenuga (Oates 57), Mandron (Fenwick 70), Bingham. Subs not used: Walker, Bartlett, Featherstone, Jones, Smith.Booked: Harrison. Goals: Pearce 37og
Ref: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).