MATCH REPORT: Hartlepool Rovers 7 Durham City 37

Rovers in action against Durham City
Rovers in action against Durham City

THE fat lady hasn’t begun singing yet. But she is clearing her throat at the side of the stage.

Not that Saturday’s comprehensive home defeat by Durham City has relegated Hartlepool Rovers from North One East.

Far from it. They remain the same distance from safety as they were before kick-off – 12 points.

But, the sad conclusion must be if they lose matches like this in such a one-sided fashion then there is little prospect of clawing their way out of the bottom three.

It was such a shame Rovers could not repeat their heroics of a fortnight ago when they beat third-placed Cleckheaton with the final dramatic kick of the game.

Player-coach Alan Brown will not give up until it is mathematically impossible.

He is a fighter and has implored his players to join him in a battle for wins and points.

But to win in the trenches he says he must have the squad alongside him on a training night.

“We were totally off-song on Saturday,” said Brown.

“We were missing some players but I’m not going to make any excuses. Every player I sent out there was capable of playing at this level – I wouldn’t have picked them if I didn’t believe that.

“I told the boys before the game that the Cleckheaton win was great but it was also history.

“It was only one win and Saturday was a game in which we had to perform – but we didn’t perform at all, it’s as simple as that.

“Durham City were sharper and more organised and we were at sixes and sevens.

“People can blame me, I’m the in charge, but the bottom line is that to get better we must all train together.

“Saturday is not the day to put things right – Tuesdays and Thursdays are there to prepare for games but we have to prepare as a team.

“We’ve got to get out in numbers to sort things out.”

See Monday’s Mail for full report