‘It's not about tactics, it's about character’ – the key stat behind Hartlepool United's poor away form

Hartlepool United’s contrasting home and away form isn’t about tactics or the stadium, it’s about character – according to manager Dave Challinor.

Monday, 4th October 2021, 12:30 pm

As has been mentioned numerous times, Hartlepool boast the best home record in the country in 2021 having won all but three of their league matches at Victoria Park.

Conversely, they are yet to secure a win away from home since being promoted to League Two, picking up just one out of a possible 15 points available.

Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Stevenage was the latest blow for Pools on the road and one that prompted Challinor to discuss the nature of his side’s defeats.

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Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Oldham Athletic and Hartlepool United at Boundary Park, Oldham on Saturday 18th September 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

In an attempt to explain Hartlepool’s current inability to secure wins away from Victoria Park, he said: “It's difficult, I'd love to have the answers but you have to look at different things.

"You can't get too bogged down with it but at some point we'll have to. It's easy to look for excuses and go 'is it preparation, is it food, is it travel?'

"We've travelled down [on Friday] and have had a light week in terms of where we're at but have trained really well and have done things that we thought would get us joy but we didn't get the rewards from that.

"Everything is done right for the players to go out and perform. What you can't do is look at how people react in adversity and again I'm pretty open with where we're at and where we need to be.”

For Challinor, whether it’s at home or away, the first goal is proving too decisive for his side.

Pools have only lost one league game after scoring the opening goal since Challinor took charge. That was a 2-1 defeat at Woking back in December 2019.

In the 39 games since then where Pools have scored the opening goal, they are unbeaten. Yet in the 23 games the side have conceded first, they’ve only won only twice – against Chesterfield and Yeovil.

"If we score the first goal, we haven't lost in 30-odd games but if we concede first, I can only remember Yeovil that we've won,” he added.

"For me that tells me it's not about tactics, it's about character and too many people don't react in the right way.”

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