Westley shares blame after Pools draw

GRAHAM WESTLEY said he blamed himself in part after Boro’s 2-2 draw with Hartlepool United on Saturday.

His team found themselves two goals down at half time following goals from Peter Hartley and Adam Boyd that Westley described as ‘embarrassing’.

However, the Boro boss admitted afterwards that he perhaps shouldn’t have ignored his instincts before the match and included certain players in the starting XI that were not fully match fit after spells on the sidelines.

“I was very disappointed with our first half showing. That wasn’t us. There was a lack of hunger, a lack of belief and a lack of ambition in what we were doing,” said Westley.

“They were embarrassing goals to concede and that isn’t what we do. So I’m very disappointed but was the reaction in the second half one I expected? Probably not. I thought we did a bit more, but I would have loved to have seen us step up to the plate and drive for the victory.

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“We got ourselves back in it but did we really fight for the three points in the way I expected – no. Who do I blame? I probably blame myself. After a long, hard week with two games on the road that probably caught up with one or two players, the likes of Stacy (Long), the likes of Mous (John Mousinho), even Ash (Jon Ashton), who have been out for long periods and I’ve probably got so much faith in their natural fitness which is why I gave them the shirt but I think tiredness has caught us out.

“So from a selection point of view, we looked better when changes happened and we got freshness onto the pitch so I have to hold my hands up with that one.

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“Twenty minutes in we were looking like the better side. We were the side that had forced the issue to the greater degree, but if you look at the half on the whole you’d have to say they (Hartlepool) had far too much time and space and we didn’t play to our strengths. I think our wide players got five crosses in between them in the first half – it’s not good enough, it’s not the standard we expect.”

Westley also said he was disappointed his side wasn’t awarded a second half penalty with the score at 2-1, after substitute Chris Beardsley appeared to be brought down by Pools ‘keeper Scott Flinders.

He added: “I think if Beardsley’s one had been given I wouldn’t have had any complaints with the penalty decisions. I saw Beardsley get to the ball first and I saw the goalkeeper make contact so I was disappointed not to get that.

“But I don’t get away from the fact that in the first half we weren’t good enough. And we showed in the second half – when we had our minds on it – we were capable of winning.

“It’s a body-blow to drop points at home, but we’ll react to it in a strong and violent way but we’ve obviously got to get back to basics to make sure we put in a better performance next weekend.”

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