FRUSTRATED Scott Flinders admitted his Hartlepool United team-mates simply “didn’t turn up” in the heavy 3-0 defeat to Luton.
And the Pools captain revealed the players were again treated to an all too familiar half-time ‘Ronnie Rocket’ following ‘schoolboy defending’ in the opening 45 minutes at Kenilworth Road.
It is down to two games now and it’s going to be tough, but it’s been a tough season.
Other results again went the way of Pools though, which meant they stayed out of the bottom two with just two rounds of matches remaining.
But experienced Flinders knows the favours from other Sky Bet League Two sides won’t last forever.
Flinders said: “There’s a big feeling of disappointment but everyone else lost and it is our ‘get out of jail for free card’ again helping us out.
“We have stayed out of the bottom two again and it’s still in our hands but we want to make sure we do the job properly.
“It is down to two games now and it’s going to be tough, but it’s been a tough season.
“We didn’t turn up for this game, but even at 3-0 the supporters were brilliant and it was as if we were leading, so massive thanks to them for their backing again.”
Pools, backed by almost 300 fans in full voice, were missing David Mirfin with a toe injury and Flinders admitted his name missing from the team sheet was a major blow.
The visitors found themselves 2-0 down after just 15 minutes as Luton came at Pools time and time again.
Flinders added: “It was backs against the wall from minute one but it is always going to be tough at Luton and we knew what they were all about.
“But we didn’t defend well enough.
“Mirf was a big miss with his experience in there alongside Dan [Jones] and Scott [Harrison] and it was a hard afternoon for us all.
“But the gaffer reiterated after the game that we just have to move on and put this one to bed.”
The 2-0 half-time scoreline should have been far worse, but thanks to some smart saves by Flinders, the home side were restricted.
Pools then enjoyed their best spell of pressure after the break but couldn’t find a way through.
And a third for John Still’s side from Scott Griffiths midway through the half killed the game as a contest.
Flinders added: “I was busy first-half and made saves, but we knew if we got a goal at 2-0 down they would have been jittery.
“But the third killed us and it was schoolboy defending.
“Their set-pieces were spot on, the front two gave us all a real game and it was tough.
“We improved after half-time when a few strong words were said, but we had to score at 2-0 because that is a critical scoreline.”