“WE let everyone down.”John Sheridan’s summation of his side’s 3-2 Sky Bet League 2 defeat at bottom-of-the-table Hartlepool United was nothing if not frank.
The loss was felt even more keenly as it came after a first-half fightback from going behind to Jonathan Franks’ eight-minute opener which saw Ryan Brunt equalise with his first Argyle goal and promised much for the second half.
However, another Franks strike and a third from Scott Fenwick settled the destination of the three points long before Olly Lee’s late, late consolation header.
“To concede the manner of goals we did was shocking,” said John.
“We got the [opening] goal back and I thought we were the better team towards the end of the first half. We got ourselves back in the game and I said at half-time ‘We go out and try to win the game’.
“The second and third goals were atrocious. It gave [Hartlepool] the belief to go on and win the game. We huffed and puffed and got a late goal, but it wasn’t to be.
“It is a real poor result, poor goals, and we let the fans down. We let everyone down.”
Argyle’s defence, which seemed impassable earlier in the season, looked fragile at times and John said: “It’s not like us. Sometimes you get away with it, but we didn’t today; when we made the mistakes, we got punished.”
John had opted for a 4-4-2 starting line-up as opposed to the 3-5-2 which the Pilgrims have employed for most of the season, pairing Ryan Brunt with leading scorer Reuben Reid, and the pair combined for Argyle’s first goal.
“I wanted to try something new,” said John. “I put Brunt up there, a little bit of height and physical presence, with Reuben and I thought it went okay in the first half. We came to try to win; there was an opportunity there – Hartlepool are bottom of the league – but I knew they’d be fighting hard to try to get something form the game, full credit to them.
“It was a great goal and it got us right back in the game. For 20 minutes towards the end of the first half, we were getting on top of the game. At half-time, I was confident, the players were confident, that we’d go out and even win the game.
“We have just got to pick ourselves up. It is a very disappointing result and I accept it is not good enough.”