Michael Woods: Hartlepool United players must take responsibility for their actions

Hartlepool Uniteds Michael Woods pressurises Dovers Mitch Pinnock. All pictures by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com.
Hartlepool Uniteds Michael Woods pressurises Dovers Mitch Pinnock. All pictures by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com.

Michael Woods says it is time for Hartlepool United’s players to look themselves in the mirror.

Pools lost for the fourth time in five matches on Saturday when they were hammered 4-0 at Dover Athletic to slip from 13th to 14th in the National League table.

Two shoddy pieces of defending saw Mitch Pinnock help himself to a first-half brace at the Crabble Athletic Ground to give Pools a mountain to climb.

And two late close-range Ryan Bird finishes saw the Kent club come away with a flattering winning margin.

Angry Pools fans chanted “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” before the end and Woods admitted that the players had let them and their manager and club down again.

“The fans are always brilliant,” said the midfielder.

“They deserve better, we keep saying it but there’s been enough talking done.

“As players, we get everything handed to us on a plate, the staff couldn’t do any more for us.

“It’s come to the point where we, as players, take responsibility.

“At the minute can anyone look himself in the mirror and say ‘am I doing enough?’.

“Probably not. That’s got to change.

“The gaffer stands up for the players, but it’s about time we took responsibility.”

Pools put in the sort of performance that gets their manager the sack.

There was a lot of attacking play, with Pools winning 11 corners to Dover’s three while the possession ratio, while not recorded must have been colossal.

However, Craig Harrison’s team could not do their primary tasks of scoring or defending.

“I can’t remember the last worldy into the top corner we’ve conceded,” said the ex-Chelsea midfielder.

“The goals we are leaking are just gifts

“It’s the same in every line of work, if you are not doing your job properly then you’ll find yourself out of one.

“There’s got to be more quality as a team, we’re getting into some great areas, we got in a couple of times and you are thinking it is harder to miss the target than hit it

“That sums it up for me.

“For the best part of 35 to 40 minutes after the break, we’ve not left their half and yet we’ve conceded two more goals.

Woods says Pools must get “back to basics” and not just start defending better but improving all over the park.

Pools have had the lion’s share of the last three matches only to lose them all with an aggregate score of 9-1.

“We have to go back to basics,” the 27-year-old told SportMail.

“We have to defend better, That’s not me standing here having a dig at the back four, it’s about us defending better as a team.

“We all have to do better, we have to offer more protection to the lads at the back, the forwards have to look after the ball better.

“It’s everyone.”

Pools take a break from the league this Saturday when they travel to Workington in the FA Trophy, a match which has now taken on greater importance.

“For sure we need a response,” he said. “We all have to stick together.

“We’re all in this together, there’s no point any individuals going off on their own.

“We’ve shown, in patches, we can be a very good side and it’s about time we started looking like one.”

Woods denied that it was better to have a cup tie next rather than another National League match.

“Not really to be honest,” he added.

“After that it doesn’t really matter who you play, we really could have done with a game tomorrow night rather than this lingering all week.

“I’m sure we’ll be in every day, working as hard as we can.”