Hartlepool United 0-1 Harrogate Town reaction and analysis – new decade, same Pools

Hartlepool United couldn’t start 2020 on the right foot as familiar foes Harrogate Town snatched a 1-0 New Year’s Day victory at Victoria Park.

Wednesday, 1st January 2020, 6:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st January 2020, 6:47 pm
Hartlepool United's Gime Toure tries to find a way past Harrogate Town's Josh Falkingham  during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Harrogate Town at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Wednesday 1st January 2020. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News & Sport )
Hartlepool United's Gime Toure tries to find a way past Harrogate Town's Josh Falkingham during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Harrogate Town at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Wednesday 1st January 2020. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News & Sport )

For the third time in under three weeks, Pools were beaten by Harrogate as Jon Stead’s second half goal proved to be the difference.

Unlike their previous two matches against Town, there was no spectacular second half collapse or horrendous errors, but that didn’t make things any less disappointing.

Drab, flat, deflating, whatever you want to call it, that’s what Pools performance and in turn the match as a whole was in a nutshell.

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The result sees Dave Challinor’s side drop to 16th in the National League table with just two wins from their last 10 league matches.

They are now closer to the relegation zone in terms of points than they are to the top seven yet the talk continues about a supposed play-off push.

But have we seen enough to suggest one will actually happen in these remaining 18 games of the National League season?

Ultimately, the answer is a resounding no based on what is currently being served up.

The 1-0 and 5-1 wins over Dagenham & Redbridge and Chesterfield restored hope. While Pools played well in those games, their opponents were utterly shocking on the day. And it’s an inability to grind out wins against decent teams even when Pools aren’t playing at their best that will prove costly.

Harrogate didn’t play particularly well at The Vic yet found a way to win. Pools have now failed to beat Simon Weaver’s side in five attempts, with four defeats, three of which have came inside the last three weeks.

They are no doubt a bogey team, but that is no reason to excuse a string of poor results against a club who only became professional just over two years ago.

The sad reality is that Hartlepool are now aspiring to be like Harrogate. And that perhaps epitomises the extent of the club’s downfall over the past decade.

The 2010s saw United fail to achieve a single top half finish and it’s looking as though that record could well be extended into the new decade. Happy New Year everyone!