We Made A Good Side Look Ordinary – Sweeney

Antony Sweeney, Hartlepool United

Antony Sweeney has insisted that the disappointment felt at only claiming a point at Notts County is an indicator of the progress that has been made by his side in recent weeks.

The caretaker boss came close to masterminding a fourth successive win when goals from Gavan Holohan and Luke James put Pools in the driving seat at Meadow Lane.

However, the hosts grabbed a goal back just before the break and that gave them the momentum to draw level on the hour during a more even second half.

“That we’re disappointed with a draw shows how far we’ve come,” Sweeney told Pools TV.

“It was a roller-coaster of a game. I thought in the first half for 44 minutes the game plan and the way the players executed that game plan was next to perfect.

“An error in judgement just before half-time swung the game a little in their favour and got the crowd back onside so we found it hard in the second half – but, make no bones about it, Notts County are a good side.

“I think it’s a credit to our lads that we made them look ordinary because they’re not ordinary. They want to play football but we wanted to try and make them play football in areas that didn’t hurt us.

“We had a good pressing line and we told the lads to be compact, block passing lanes and as soon as you win it go and try and get some goals, bounce on it, counter-attack and exploit the space.

“If we could have gone in at 2-0 the whole mood would have been different – that goal gave them a lifeline and they pinned us back a bit in the second half when we showed another side to our game.

“The easy thing would have been to shut up shop but we tried to still carry a threat by throwing Niko Muir on and going two up front and even with our last change we put Luke Williams on when we could have gone more defensive.

“We tried and, on another day it would have gone for us, but on the balance of both halves I think 2-2 was probably the fair result.”