Lewis Hawkins says Hartlepool United's slump is worrying
It's not just the fans who are worried about Hartlepool United's slide down the table.
The fear of the drop has worked its way into the dressing room, too, according to midfielder Lewis Hawkins.
After Pools contrived to lose to Barnet 3-2, having been two goals to the good with less just 22 minutes to play at the weekend, Craig Hignett’s men suffered their third defeat on the bounce.
And the last fortnight or so has done little for their League Two standing.
Pools were jostling for position with the fourth tier play-off hopefuls prior to their loss to Carlisle United at Brunton Park on October 15.
Now, just 18 days later, they are starting to look over their shoulders.
In 20th they are now just one point above the relegation zone.
“This run is worrying,” said Hawkins.
“The same mistakes are happening over and over again. The position we are in is a real worry.”
The comments from Hawkins come as a stark change to the message flooding out from the squad over the last few months.
Given recent struggles in the division the club had hoped to be looking up rather than down.
But recent results have seen things take a turn for the worse.
With the slide, the manager has come in for some criticism, so too Pools’ back four.
But Hawkins says the whole squad must shoulder the blame, not any one individual or Hignett.
“We do this together. We are a team,” said the 23-year-old.
“We defend as a team. We attack as a team. We can’t just blame recent results on the defenders.
“As players we seem to be saying the same things over and over again.
“We got 1-0 up at half-time and then we said we wanted to make sure we got an early goal in the second half. We did that.
“Then we let ourselves down with the goals we conceded. We are letting a lot of goals in.
“When we let the first goal in, we still felt we could go on and win the game.
“We just didn’t see things out properly. It was going exactly to plan. That’s the frustrating part.”
Pools Achilles heel, yet again was high balls into the box.
And it just so happens that is Martin Allen’s Bees’ forte.
Hawkins said: “They have a lot of big players, that’s the way they play.
“We knew that. And to be honest we dealt with what they threw at us pretty well.
“For an hour we coped then the next 10 minutes lost us the game.”
The biggest call of the game went against Pools.
This is something that has become a common theme.
Looking back Hawkins, who says he did not have the best view of the incident at the time, admits he was bemused with the call to send off Liam Donnelly at the time. And he still is now.
“The referee has even been saying to us that he doesn’t have to send him off,” he said.
“Under the new rules he didn’t have to send him off.
“It changed the game but as a team we have to do better.
“I was on the half way line I couldn’t see if he tripped him but the ref has made the decision.
“He didn’t say he made a mistake with the penalty, it was that he didn’t have to send the player off.
“The new rules are that he could have given a yellow card. I believe he made an attempt to play the ball.”