Hartlepool United’s players must produce the same super-human effort they showed with 10 men when they have the full 11.
So says keeper Trevor Carson in the aftermath of Saturday’s exciting 2-2 draw with Newport.
Pools are still waiting for their first win at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium this season, but there was no shortage of effort.
The team was reduced to 10 players after Toto Nsiala was sent off just three minutes in for a deliberate handball.
But Pools fought back to take a point with the boisterous home crowd giving Craig Hignett’s side a standing ovation at the full-time whistle.
“Woodsy (Michael Woods) made a great point when we were talking about the game in the changing room,” said ex-Sunderland keeper Carson. “He said we need to play with the intensity we showed with 10 men when we have 11.
“When we were down to 10 men, we seemed to run that little bit further and harder, and defended with more passion.
“That’s the standard we must now show for the rest of the season.
“It shouldn’t take us going down to 10 men to run faster and be sharper.
“Hopefully we’ll learn from this. We absolutely battered them. Obviously with only 10 men, we’ve had to concede possession, but there was times we murdered them.
“I know life’s all about if onlys, but it’s very frustrating thinking what might have been. But I think, ultimately, we’ll take more positives from the game than negatives.”
Pools were 1-0 up before some supporters had even taken their seats, Nicky Featherstone scoring his first goal since joining the club after being set up by the excellent Woods. But hopes of a first home win were quickly extinguished by Nsiala’s early exit and Sean Rigg’s equaliser.
Jon Parkin put Newport ahead but Padraig Amond levelled before half-time.
Hartlepool Utd: Carson, Richards, Nsiala, Bates (Donnelly 75), Carroll, Alessandra, Woods, Featherstone, Thomas, Amond (Hawkins 82), Paynter (Harrison 58). Sent Off: Nsiala (3). Goals: Featherstone 2, Amond 38.
Newport County: Day, Bignot, Bennett, Darren Jones, Butler, Randall, Labadie (Tozer 64), Myrie-Williams (Compton 53), Jackson (Barnum-Bobb 75), Parkin, Rigg. Booked: Randall, Darren Jones. Goals: Rigg 4, Parkin 27.
Att: 3,261. Ref: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear).