Chesterfield's first-half performance against Hartlepool United was 'unacceptable', says boss James Rowe

Spireites boss James Rowe said Chesterfield’s first-half performance against Hartlepool United was ‘unacceptable’ and that he picked the ‘wrong’ formation.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 8:41 pm
Chesterfield manager James Rowe.

Chesterfield conceded three times in 43 minutes to give themselves a mountain to climb.

Fraser Kerr headed one back on the hour but strikes from Rhys Oates and Luke Armstrong either side of an own goal by Josef Yarney did the damage in the opening 45.

“It was unacceptable in the first-half,” Rowe said.

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“I have picked the wrong team and the wrong shape on the day and it has come back to bite us.

“We looked like a team shot to bits in the first-half, devoid of confidence, devoid of a game plan, which they had but they didn’t put it into practice.

“Second-half, when I changed the formation, which I thought about going with from the start, which was a bit gung-ho, we caused them a lot of problems.

“I thought we looked the better team second-half, we pinned them in, we created opportunities so credit to the lads because that is character.

“We lost to the better team today."

The manner of the goals disappointed Rowe, saying they came down to ‘desire’ in the box.

Gavin Gunning missed out due to an ongoing hamstring problem and Rowe said his absence affected their ability to play out from the back.

Oates pounced from close-range on five minutes after Grant Smith reacted well to keep out Gavan Holohan’s header from David Ferguson’s corner.

The hosts doubled their lead when Yarney turned Jamie Sterry’s cross into his own net and the Pools grabbed a third before the break when Armstrong finished from a couple of yards out after Holohan hit the post.

This was Hartlepool’s first game in two weeks after their home fixture against Weymouth was moved to the last day of the season to allow fans to attend, and Rowe was in no doubt it made a big diference.

“They looked like a team who could focus on this one solely for two weeks and we looked like a team focused on Wrexham away, Bromley away and here was probably a step too far.

“I think the games are catching up with us, I think the injuries are catching up with us and we are patching it up at the moment.”