Dave Challinor on whether Hartlepool United's draw with Altrincham has brought the club 'back down to earth'

Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor says he knows exactly where his side is at following last night’s 1-1 draw with Altrincham.
Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Pools were forced to settle for a point after Ben Killip’s injury-time penalty save prevented the visitors from completing a late turnaround.

David Parkhouse had put the hosts in front before Ritchie Sutton equalised for the newly-promoted side in the 85th-minute.

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And while the point maintained Hartlepool’s unbeaten start to the season, there was a sense of disappointment among supporters.

That prompted the question – has the result brought Pools back down to earth?

“Maybe for the players but not for me,” Challinor said. “I know where we are. Everyone else can get carried away but I know exactly where we are at.

“Don’t get me wrong, we’re in a good place but the demands we put on a small squad at some points during the season will result in us not playing well and not winning games.

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“The positive is we’ve not lost and we’ve picked up another point. Yeah, we’re at home but it makes no difference really as we are not backed by our home support.

“Maybe tonight, it could have worked both ways. I’m sure 4,000 people in here would have got really frustrated but we might have just needed that just to see us through and grab a snappy 1-0 win.

“If we’re going to be successful, we need to win ugly as well as playing really well at times.

“I know exactly where we’re at. Maybe from a player perspective, it did a little bit of good to recognise what we’re about.”

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The point leaves Pools fourth in the National League table after five matches, three points off leaders and Saturday’s opponents, Torquay United.

Challinor admits it was a frustrating evening for his side, especially given Pools’ dominance in the first-half.

And the 45-year-old offered his view on what changed in Pools’ approach after the break.

He added: “We’ll take the point and move on to Saturday. It was a frustrating night for us - the game was there to be won in the first-half but we didn’t do that and we come unstuck.

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“We had to be patient tonight because they got behind the ball and defended well and defended deep and made it difficult for us.

“I don’t think it was overly contrasting in terms of they sat in and probably got a few more attacking players on the pitch and played out a little bit.

“We’ll see, we have the data for a reason. I suspect there will be a decent drop-off. The second-half may have been a half too far for us.

“Even so, if we see it out, we’re probably not sitting here having this conversation. We’d say: ‘we were rubbish but we won 1-0’.

“They’ve done what they did - they were solid and frustrated us. They got the equaliser and could have won it.”