Scunthorpe manager Brian Laws felt his side were well below par in their 2-1 defeat to Hartlepool at Glanford Park
Laws gave a debut up front to new loan signing James Alabi from Stoke. Nine minutes after coming on as a substitute he made a real impact, heading Scunthorpe back into the game from a left-wing cross from Tom Newey.
But it was too little, too late to save the Iron after first-half goals from James Poole and Jonathan Franks.
"Yes, we really wanted to keep the momentum going that we had been building at home," said Laws. "This result is a setback for us but it just shows how difficult it is to win games in this division. Everyone is battling for points whether they are near the top of the table or the bottom. It is going to be a real fight now right until the end of the season.
"The most disappointing thing for me from this result is that we did not win enough individual battles out there on the pitch.
"The turning point was the first goal, a poor one for us to give away. We panicked a little bit after that and did not do enough to turn things round.
"I have to confess that some of our play was poor, we lacked quality to get behind them. We had given them something to hang on to and credit to them, they made it difficult for us to get back."
Laws added: "James Alabi only arrived here on Thursday and I did not really want to use him at all, but we were flat and needed a lift - and he certainly gave us one with the goal he got.
"But that was about the first time we had got a good quality ball into their box."