DEFLATED Jordan Richards admitted Hartlepool United’s second successive 3-0 home defeat is a blow to the confidence and said the players have to “work harder”, writes Richard Mennear.
Keith Hill’s Rochdale side scored three second-half goals to ensure they left Victoria Park with all three points and it came less than 10 days after Bury had also put three past Pools.
Richards said while Pools were unfortunate not to take the lead themselves – through his own free-kick which hit the woodwork – they should have done more to keep the score down.
The utility man, who has just returned from a double hernia operation, started his first game of the season at right-back in place of the injured Michael Duckworth, out with a groin strain.
The 20-year-old said: “Rochdale kept going and going and the first goal is an unfortunate one to concede.
“But that is where we have to then realise ‘right, it is only one, don’t let them get another one.’
“But that is what we did, let them get to 2-0 and then 3-0 and you can’t really come back from that.
“It is a blow to the confidence but we are going to look back at the game Monday and see where we went wrong and is there is a reason why we then went on to concede two and three.
“We just have to work harder.
“We weren’t far away in the first-half and you can see it is there and we have even had chances in the second-half, Franksie was through a couple of times and Jack [Baldwin] had a couple of headers.
“We had chances but we have
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to put them away, rather than concede them.”
Indeed, it was Sunderland-born Richards who almost put Pools 1-0 up but his 15th minute free-kick curled onto the upright and Christian Burgess was unable to fire home the rebound.
Richards added: “The free-kick couldn’t have been much closer and if that had gone in the game might have been totally different and we wouldn’t be sitting here with no points and a 3-0 defeat.
“I thought it was in all the way, I thought: “I’ve done this here,” but I just don’t think the luck was on our side.”
At half-time and the score level at 0-0, Pools were very much in the game but capitulated second half.
Richards added: “First-half we were more than in the game, we had a few chances and could have taken the lead.
“But second-half we came out and conceded a lucky goal and crumbled from there, by the looks of it.
“If we had got that first goal then I think we would have gone on to win the game because I don’t think they were causing us major problems first half.
“At half-time the gaffer said: ‘Look, we are not far away here, keep going’ and I think he was right, but then our second-half performance didn’t match our first.”
While disappointed with the result, Richards was “delighted” to find himself named in the starting 11.
He added: “I have waited a long time to get that chance.
“Obviously Michael [Duckworth] came in during the summer and did well but I have tried my hardest in training and reserve games and I was glad the gaffer gave me that chance.”