PETER Hartley fired an abrasive warning to his Hartlepool United team-mates following their weekend throwaway at Stevenage – “46 draws will get us relegated”.
Pools were two goals to the good and cruising towards their first victory of the season with just over half an hour remaining at Broadhall Way.
But two defensive lapses, the second just two minutes from time, saw the hosts salvage a previously unlikely point as Mick Wadsworth’s men were forced to settle for a fourth successive draw.
Hartley, though, is in no mood to celebrate an unbeaten start to the campaign.
“Again we’ve thrown it away,” he said, in reference to the stoppage-time equaliser at MK Dons on the opening day.
“With 46 draws you get relegated – we’ve got to start picking wins up.
“We should have had two wins, on Saturday and at MK Dons.
“When you come to Stevenage and go 2-0 up you win the match, full stop – you don’t draw.
“If we want to do something this season we’ve got to win games like that.”
It was all going to plan at the halfway point as Pools led thanks to Hartley’s 34th-minute header and Adam Boyd’s 41st-minute penalty.
But when Evan Horwood failed to clear midway through the second period it allowed Byron Harrison to reduce arrears before slack marking from an 88th-minute corner saw Scott Laird head home.
And Hartley added: “Two individual mistakes have cost us.
“It was just a horrible feeling in my stomach when they equalised – it’s a sickening feeling and you’re just so frustrated because you’ve worked hard for 87 minutes of the game.
“When they scored the equaliser I just felt like digging a hole and crawling into it.”
SEE Monday’s Mail for full story ...