NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh admitted his side paid the price for poor finishing and dreadful defending at Hartlepool United.
The Exiles went down to a 3-0 defeat at Victoria Park as goals from Luke James and Luke Williams and an Andy Sandell own goal sealed their fate.
And Edinburgh was disappointed with his team’s display despite a bright start on a grey and wet afternoon in the North East.
“I think we deserved perhaps a little bit better but the goals we conceded we were disappointed with,” said the Exiles boss.
“For long spells of the first half we looked comfortable and we made some good chances but if you are going to keep chasing games it’s hard to come back at any level.
“First goals are really crucial at this level, as they are at most, but I thought we dominated and I thought we looked comfortable and assured for a team that hadn’t played for a few weeks.
“But as I was saying that on the bench the inevitable happened.”
James’ opening strike five minutes before the break came against the run of play but there was no way back for County after Sandell’s unfortunate OG on 55 minutes and Williams added a third in injury time.
“The first goal turned the game on its head and the second goal we have to do better,” said Edinburgh.
“A little bit of communication was required because it was two players going for the same ball.
“If you give goals like that away you are going to be struggling and I thought we lost a little bit of belief once it went to 2-0.
“We weren’t quick enough in the final third with our passing and we need to be more clinical with our finishing,” he added. “We were a bit hopeful rather than knowing what we wanted to do.”