DEJECTED Colin Cooper said he was “massively disappointed” to see his Hartlepool United side beaten by Wimbledon after giving away two soft goals.
For the first time this season after taking the lead, Pools were beaten, and the manager said the disappointing defeat should act as a “big learning curve” for his players.
Pools were the better team for the opening 70 minutes and had taken the lead in the 43rd minute through 19-year-old striker Luke James’ close range effort.
But two quick-fire goals from Will Antwi and Danny Hylton in the 74th and 76th minute ultimately brought defeat for Pools at the The Cherry Red Records Stadium.
Cooper said: “I shouldn’t be standing here disappointed, I should be standing here glowing with praise and saying that we got our noses in front and went onto win comfortably.
“That hasn’t happened.
“Wimbledon were very honest and said they didn’t have any answers to what we were doing apart from putting a bit of pressure in and around our 18-yard box, with not particularly clever play – but they managed to unsettle us enough to get two goals.
“I have to say I am massively disappointed.
“I am not disappointed with the performance though because some of the football we played was very good and I acknowledge progression in that respect.
“But having got our noses in front and not going on to win, that is the biggest disappointment.
“Normally, when we go in front, we grow and get better and we did to a certain degree.
“If we had got the second goal we’d have gone onto win comfortably but we have allowed Wimbledon to exert some pressure on us and one or two people made some strange decisions when pressure was exerted.
“That is the learning curve because at some point you are going to be put under pressure. They have to learn.”
AFC Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller (Arthur 68), Jones, Morris, Antwi, Fenlon, Sainte-Luce, Pell, Sammy Moore, Sheringham (Wyke 46), Midson (Hylton 46). Subs Not Used: Bennett, Francomb, Luke Moore, Brown. Booked: Pell, Sammy Moore, Arthur. Goals: Antwi 74, Hylton 76.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Baldwin, Burgess, Holden, Walton, Walker, Monkhouse, Williams, James, Harewood (Barmby 74). Subs Not Used: Collins, Franks, Rafferty, Compton, Sweeney, Rodney. Booked: Walton, Baldwin. Goals: James 44.
Att: 3,730 Ref: Mark Haywood (W Yorkshire).