Hartlepool United manager Kevin Phillips blasts defending for last minute equaliser in draw with Rochdale as worse than watching his side ship seven at Gateshead

Hartlepool United manager Kevin Phillips said watching his side concede a 95th minute equaliser at Rochdale on Easter Monday was worse than watching them ship six second half goals in a 7-1 defeat to Gateshead last week.
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Pools looked to be on course for a perfect Easter weekend after Joe Grey's acrobatic 65th minute strike put them 1-0 up but Rochdale, who had striker Kairo Mitchell sent off in the first half following a strong challenge on Tom Parkes, equalised in the fifth and final minute of added time through former Poolie Devante Rodney.

The Pools boss, and indeed some of his players, were left fuming by the manner in which the visitors conceded such an entirely preventable goal through a combination of mismanagement and misjudgment.

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Rochdale rallied late on but, after Rodney blasted a free-kick over the bar with 90 seconds remaining, Pools looked to have done enough to make it six points from six over the Easter weekend.

Kevin Phillips was left livid following his side's failure to hold onto three points at Rochdale.Kevin Phillips was left livid following his side's failure to hold onto three points at Rochdale.
Kevin Phillips was left livid following his side's failure to hold onto three points at Rochdale.

However, with the ball down in the corner and at the opposite end to where the home side wanted it to be, substitute Chay Cooper returned possession to Rochdale with an attempted flick that was hard to comprehend even on account of his inexperience.

That allowed the hosts to launch the ball forward one final time before both Tom Parkes and Luke Waterfall uncharacteristically failed to deal with it, allowing Rodney to steal in, round Pete Jameson and score his fifth goal in nine games.

And the Pools boss was spitting with rage and frustration at his side's failure to hold onto all three points.

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"As strange as it seems, for me, it almost feels worse than the defeat against Gateshead," he said.

"At least at Gateshead we got outplayed, dominated and we got battered.

"Here, today, that wasn't the case - we should have won the football match.

"At times it looked fairly comfortable and we could have added a second, which would have killed the game.

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"For the last 10 minutes, I just couldn't work out what we were trying to do, we were playing into their hands.

"The way that the equaliser comes around, it's schoolboy.

"One, we should be keeping the ball in the corner, because there's literally 30 seconds to go, and then two, a ball straight down our middle cannot end up in the back of our net.

"Frustrated is an understatement. I'm absolutely seething."

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