Onside: Picking out the positives for Pools

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ELEVEN points from safety and a record equalling run of 20 games without a win.

With those kinds of grim statistics it is becoming increasingly hard to stay positive as a Hartlepool United fan.

But at least Saturday’s game against Stevenage did present some encouraging signs for the future, despite the 2-0 defeat.

For much of the game Pools were the better side, including arguably the best 45 minutes of the season so far.

Not hard, you may argue, as this has been a season of turgid, and at times desperate and lifeless, displays.

There is no sugar coating it, this season has been an embarrassment and one win from 21 league games proves it.

But credit where it is due and Saturday was much better.

We actually played some football, created several good chances and there was a determination to play on the floor, as oppose to lumping it upfield to an isolated Steve Howard, which seems to have been the only tactic for the first third of the season.

But despite the positives, the game still ended in defeat.

One chance in the first half summed up our season in front of goal.

The ball was whipped into the middle and with the goal gaping three players went for the same header.

You can either laugh or cry in our current predicament and credit to the Town End, the majority where laughing. Sadly it was at Antony Sweeney’s attempt.

While John Hughes is yet to win a game, you can see what he is trying to get the players to do and credit to him.

If, as widely expected, Pools do get relegated then I’d much rather go down playing decent football.

With just nine points on the board at almost the mid-way stage of the season, it would take an incredible run of form for Pools to stay up.

On the basis of what we’ve seen so far and with little hope of any fresh blood arriving then our fate already looks sealed.

But if we can go down fighting, playing decent football then at least that is something to build on for next season.

It is hard to stay positive and the constant ribbing from work mates – you know who you are - has made it unbearable at times.

But Christmas is just around the corner and with it comes a New Year, and fresh hope.

Hope that the elusive second league win will come and hope that Pools will restore some pride to what has been such a disappointing season.

- RICHARD MENNEAR