AFTER back to back clean sheets, Hartlepool United shipped three goals at Eastleigh.

Pool’s defensive plans were forced to change in the build-up to the game, with centre-half Fraser Kerr ruled out through illness.

Two goals for Pools weren’t enough as they conceded three times from corners, leading Hignett to admit: “We missed Fraser who was sick in the warm-up, so we had to reshuffle. Would we have been better with Fraser? Who knows, but the lads out there have to defend better.

“We are too nice defending – let them get a run on us and then try and defend it. You have to be horrible and block your man, we have to get better for it.

“It was entertaining, but it’s galling to lose and it was disappointing if we drew with it. You have to defend set-pieces because teams throw it in the box. We have been good at the back recently.

“Fraser is aggressive, heads a ball away and does the nasty things and we missed him. We still carved out enough chances to win.’’

Kerr’s late call off meant Mark Kitching started at left-back with Myles Anderson moved into the middle alongside David Edgar, who was back from international duty with Canada.

Pools conceded after two minutes as a corner by ex-Middlesbrough midfielder Mark Yeates was headed met by Ben Williamson.

Luke James fired against post and Kitching netted to quickly level.

Liam Noble’s shot came back off the keeper and Luke Molyneux’s angled finish was cleared off the line.

However, from another corner Pools conceded again. The ball was headed back across goal and Wynter turned in.

Nicke Kabamba was twice denied by impressive home keeper Dean Southwood, as was Molyneux and Ryan Donaldson.

But again Pools conceded from a corner, Hobson netting after Scott Loach saved from Yeates.

Noble crossed for Kabamba to head home for Pools and the loan striker went close to a leveller, but was unable to get enough on the ball after Kitching nodded across goal.

Hignett, speaking to BBC Tees, added: “How we were behind at half-time I don’t know – we have to be more ruthless. If we had scored five in the first-half no-one would have battered an eyelid.

“We switched off again and conceded – it becomes a set-piece game and they scored three from set-pieces. We should have scored six in open play.’’

Eastleigh: Southwood, Hare, Wynter, Hobson, Boyce, Green, Jones (Miley 68), Hollands, Matthews (Zebroski 76), Yeates (Gobern 84), Williamson. Subs (not used): McKnight, Dennett.

Pools: Loach, Kioso, Kitching (Muir 90), Edgar, Anderson, Featherstone, Donaldson (Hawkes 76), Noble (Holohan 87) Molyneux, James, Kabamba. Sub (not used): Amos.

Booked: Noble (45), Kioso (63)