HARTLEPOOL UNITED 0 PRESTON NORTH END 1

Andy Monkhouse is tackled late. Picture by FRANK REID
Andy Monkhouse is tackled late. Picture by FRANK REID

“A MYSTERY, an enigma, a riddle”.

Those were the words of Mick Wadsworth last week as he pondered a bewildering run of five straight home defeats, writes Craig Hope.

Antony Sweeney fights to get to the ball. Picture by FRANK REID

Antony Sweeney fights to get to the ball. Picture by FRANK REID

Seven days – and, crucially, two losses later – the manager is no closer to cracking the code.

But the Victoria Park puzzle, it appears, has now extended itself from the playing field to the boardroom.

Chairman Ken Hodcroft delivered a cryptic message in last night’s programme notes, his prose somewhat open to interpretation and, thus, prompting debate.

He talked of “examining in detail” the wretched home form over the coming days – a sign that help could be on its way in the form of additional personnel, or a more sinister nod towards a change of approach elsewhere?

Of this season’s inflated attendances he noted there is “plenty more criticism and sometimes praise …” – a slight on the support of the fans, or simply a recognition that they have not had too much to applaud of late?

Flipping overleaf in the programme, chief executive Russ Green weighs into the issue of falling gates following the early-season boom – last night’s was the lowest turnout of the league campaign.

Were Green’s words a rally to supporters, or a criticism of the team?

Either way, the Pools plot continues to thicken.

It says much that the pre-match thoughts of these two non-playing members of the football club have overshadowed the action – for again, a defeat-to-nil leaves little to eulogise over.

Read Craig’s full match report in today’s Sportmail.