Ronnie Moore admits Mikael Mandron should have scored his first Hartlepool United goal and sent Pools on the way to another famous League Two victory.
But the Pools boss does not blame the on-loan Sunderland forward for the 1-0 home defeat to Oxford United on Saturday.
Mandron failed to beat keeper Ben Buchel when clean through on goal 12 minutes after half-time.
The scoreline was level at that point, Pools having had the better of the play until that stage, but it was Oxford who got the winner through supersub Danny Hylton’s deft finish on 70 minutes, taking the visitors to the top of the table.
“Had Mandron scored, it’s a game-changer, you can’t miss it,” said Moore.
“It was a golden opportunity, from good football, it was a great pass through.
“Mikael then has a decision – chip it or hit it?
“For me, I think he should have feinted to hit it, waited for the keeper to move and then clip it over him.
“But he’s a young kid learning the role.
“He’s worked hard, chased everything, but I think he will be an instinctive finisher, not a poacher.
“He’s not going to be a John Aldridge type of player.”
Pools – whose next game is at Salford City in the FA Cup on Friday – played the better football against the new League Two leaders but had few gilt-edged openings.
But this was certainly one as Moore explained.
“We’ve had the best chance of the game, at the most crucial time,” said the manager.
“It was a fantastic opportunity and it should have been in the back of the net.
“As a goal-scorer, you should score them. Mikael has chased and harried and done all those sort of things and I think he will be more of an instinctive finisher, when the ball comes in and bang.
“In those sort of positions, the natural scorer scores – like Hylton did for them.
“Mikael is a young lad still lerning his trade, I’m not going to criticise him. What I’ve said to him is keeping making them runs but be clinical when you get in there.”
Hartlepool: Carson, Duckworth, Bates, Jackson, Carroll, Magnay (Walker 61), Featherstone, Gray (Oyenuga 74), Oates (Bingham 75), Mandron, Naismith. Subs not used: Harrison, Bartlett, Fenwick, Jones. Booked: Oates, Walker.
Oxford Utd: Buchel, Baldock, Mullins, Dunkley, Skarz, MacDonald (Rose 90), Sercombe, Lundstram, Roofe, Hoban (O’Dowda 83), Maguire (Hylton 62). Subs not used: Slocombe, Ruffels, Long, Evans. Goals: Hylton 70.
Att: 3,622. Ref: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear).