sport

Cooper: Opening goal is vital

Hartlepool boss Colin Cooper admitted it is time for some soul searching at Victoria Park after Rochdale inflicted a 3-0 home defeat.

Second-half goals from George Donnelly, Peter Cavanagh and Graham Cummins secured the points for the visitors after a drab opening period in which neither side took control.

For Pools this was their second successive 3-0 home defeat following Bury's triumph on New Year's Day.

Cooper said: "The first goal was key for us and it's something we have spoken about a lot. We had first-half chances and we have to find that first goal in order to grow as a group.

"As daft as it may sound, and I hear comments from the stand about me and the team and all that, how badly did we really play?

"The last 20 minutes did us no favours as a group and we conceded two goals to set-pieces.

"For the first time, after losing to Bury and here, we sit down and go through the game, the whole game, and have an open discussion.

"I didn't see any team winning other than us at half-time. But conceding the first goal, in the manner we did, with a couple of blocks and ricochets, isn't good."