Ronnie Moore said Salford City could be “proud” of their display after seeing Hartlepool United scrape into the third round of the FA Cup.
To say Pools made heavy weather of seeing off an impressive Salford would be an understatement.
The non-league outfit controlled much of the 90 minutes and had the best chances – two of them falling to ex-Pools star James Poole.
But he could not convert and Pools took control in extra-time to win 2-0 thanks to a Scott Fenwick header and Mikael Mandron’s first goal for the club with virtually the last kick of the match.
“It was a hard night and no good for my health,” said Moore.
“Were Salford brilliant or were we poor? Probably a bit of both.
“Their managers can be proud of their side and be gutted they didn’t win the game.
“Salford moved it well, kept three up top to cause us problems and we gave it away a lot.
“They had too much possession for a non league side. It took a long time to get going.
“It’s hard top put your finger on it, but we are so low on confidence.
“All the crowd wanted to see was someone to light the blue touch paper. We were so flat.
“It was nice to get in front at last, but we should be doing better and that’s no disrespect to Salford, who have some decent players.
“But so have we, we just need to express ourselves and perform to the manner I know we can.
“I have to give the lads credit for sticking at it.”
Moore was happy with his defence and had words of praise for the two goal-scorers.
“We got in front with a good header from Scotty,” said the manager. “Scotty then gave us what we know he’s got – that ability to run, chase and harry. That’s big part of his game.
“It was a good finish from Mandron, from a great ball in from Brad. He needed that goal, he’s a young kid still learning the game and you have to be patient with the young players here on loan.’’
It means Pools have a home third-round tie with Derby County on Saturday, January 9 though Moore was honest enough to admit his side were lucky to gert through.
“We were fortunate to beat Cheltenham in the last round,” said Moore. “We are fortunate to beat Salford but there’s now a nice game to come in the third round.”