THOSE Hartlepool United fans who exited Victoria Park early in the second-half to watch the Grand National missed their team falling over a low hurdle.
Pool were in front against a poor and relegation-threatened Chesterfield, when the Aintree bonanza was starting. By the time it had finished, Pool had long tripped over.
It’s a story at Victoria Park this season which has been as regular as it has been painful. This was home loss number 11 in League One and they have only scored 19 times in 22 home games.
They took the lead on this occasion, a first goal at Victoria Park in nigh-on five games. Neil Austin fed Ryan Noble and the Sunderland loanee squirmed into space to tee up Gary Liddle for the most simple of finishes.
The visitors – relegated to League Two if they lost – levelled when substitute Danny Whitaker, with his first touch, passed an angled finish into the net.
Pool got nervous and folded. Scott Boden was able to cross and Jordan Bowery headed in to keep the Spireites alive for another week at least
“It’s boring me saying the same thing all the time – we created chances and although we scored a goal it’s not enough,’’ said Cooper. “We should have killed the game. We had three chances at the start of the second-half.
“It goes back to the mentality of the opposition thinking that we wouldn’t score another goal. They made changes and it paid off for them.
“We gave them the chance to come back into the game and they did it. When you go behind you see a different side to the players, those who wanted the ball earlier didn’t want it, and that’s about character.
“We have realised week in, week out, it’s up to the front boys to put some onus on themselves and score goals. Two goals come from balls in the box, discipline had to be better, you cannot go charging up the park all the time. It’s a long week now until Tranmere. The team needs four or five players to freshen up things, it’s a bit stale at times.’’
HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders; Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood; Liddle (Rutherford 90) Murray (Boyd 73), Sweeney, Monkhouse; James, Noble. Subs: Rafferty (gk), Humphreys, Baldwin.
Goal: Liddle (37)
CHESTERFIELD: Lee; Talbot, Thompson, Ford, Ridehalgh; Westcarr (Boden 52), Randall, Moussa, Mendy; Juan (Whitaker 56); Bowery. Subs: Allott, Smith, Ajose.
Goals: Whitaker (59), Bowery (70).
Referee: Mark Haywood (Leeds) Attendance: 4,004