HARTLEPOOL UNITED 1 WYCOMBE WANDERERS 3

Stephen Wright is pushed in the penalty area only for the referee to wave play on. Picture by FRANK REID
Stephen Wright is pushed in the penalty area only for the referee to wave play on. Picture by FRANK REID

THREE weeks ago, amid the hysteria of a club-record start to the season, Mick Wadsworth warned that “things can change quickly in football” – never, though, would he have forecast such a drastic downturn in fortune.

Never would he, or indeed any player, fan or critic, have envisaged a scenario in which certain sections of the crowd would hiss their distaste at substitutions, bicker amongst themselves and almost come to blows over their support, or rather non support, of the team.

Adam Boyd scores from the penalty spot to pull a goal back for Pools. Picture by FRANK REID

Adam Boyd scores from the penalty spot to pull a goal back for Pools. Picture by FRANK REID

It’s all a far cry from the optimism and cheer of that nine-match unbeaten run.

So what has gone wrong?

Stripping away over analysis, the basic facts are thus – Pools have stopped scoring and have started conceding.

It was case of no goal in four-and-a-half hours until a late consolation on Saturday, while six have been shipped at the other end in the last two matches.

Wadsworth sought a solution during the week as he rolled out a new-look 3-5-2 formation, a bold move which was embraced by the men charged with taking its success from chalkboard to training field to matchday action.

And, in theory, the system makes sense, and shouldn’t necessarily be dispensed with after this stuttering debut.

The catalyst for Wadsworth’s change was the accommodation of the fit-again Stephen Wright.

That meant a triumvirate of centre-backs made up by Peter Hartley and Sam Collins.Sadly, it didn’t work.

Read Craig Hope’s full match report in today’s Sportmail.