Hartlepool United analysis: Toothless forwards and a bombscare backline - travelling knights let down by Pools’ players
This was the worst performance of Craig Hignett’s Hartlepool United mk 2 - by some considerable distance.
It could even rank as the most pitiful performance of an utterly forgettable season, one that promised to flourish in autumn, but was a dead duck by late winter. This, of course, has little to do with the current manager, Pools’ seeds were sewn long before he walked back through the door.
It’s a performance that in many ways is of little significance, as it can be explained away very easily, but is all concerning in equal measure.
Don’t get those deckchairs out just yet - that’s been Hignett’s mantra in recent weeks as he battles to keep Pools’ squad motivated, despite an obvious lack of end goal.
Pools should be involved in the promotion race, or at least be in the position of a Gateshead at this point in the season.
Instead, they are dotting between 14th and 17th place in the National League table. Last season they finished 15th, having not won a game between October and February, almost went bust on a near weekly basis and were under transfer embargo for 75% of the campaign.
Whatever way this campaign is painted out, it’s been more Rolf Harris than Vincent van Gogh.
And for all the positive signs and steps forward in recent weeks under Hignett, this felt like ten backwards.
It can all be explained away with the notion that this is the end of the season. And in truth shows like this do happen, however good the club, just look at Manchester United at Everton on Sunday for an example.
But, to me, I was concerned that so many in that side seems to care so little about the fans on the terraces, dressed up to the nines in rented and bought knightwear, more than 1,100 of them.
Barrow, with equally as much to play for as Pools, put in a performance, why couldn’t Hartlepool?
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If you can’t do it for yourselves - if you don’t want to stay, or fancy a move elsewhere - then do it for the working man (and woman) behind the goal.
The ones who follow you up and down the country (mostly down), and spend their pay packets on travel, transfers and hotel rooms, as well as the odd drink, expecting nothing less than a team who tries 110%. This group of players, however much I like them as players and men, let you down on Monday. There’s no other way of saying it.
I’ve given plenty of praise through this season, even in defeat, if you can see the effort, ideas, decisions go against Pools, etc.
But on Monday I was clutching at straws to pick the positives - the main one was that the goal difference did not get hammered. It could, and should, have been five or six. Pools were lucky to lose by just the one goal.
Scott Loach made some great saves but flapped at crosses galore.
The back four were a bombscare - I’ve never seen so many misplaced passes and sliced clearances in one game in my life.
Fraser Kerr had his worst game in blue and white, David Edgar had a shocker and the two full-backs - Peter Kioso and Danny Amos - were taken apart by Barrow at every opportunity.
Further forward it wasn’t much better.
Luke James barely kicked a ball in anger, the same can be said of Nicke Kabamba.
Pools were in holiday mode at Holker Street - it’ll be interesting to find out how many will be settling in their sunloungers this summer safe in the knowledge they have a new deal at the Super 6 Stadium.