MICK Wadsworth admits the unwanted club-record run for consecutive home defeats is “scary” and “the worst he’s ever known” – but has vowed to turn things around, writes Craig Hope.
A lacklustre Pools slumped to their sixth loss on the bounce at Victoria Park on Saturday as Yeovil Town left with a relatively comfortable 1-0 victory.
Not only is the losing stretch the worst in the club’s history, it also means they have gone nearly 10 hours having scored just one goal – a consolation penalty – on home soil.
“We’ve got a huge problem which we have to solve and we have to change things,” Wadsworth said.
“This run is scary. We’ve got one of the best away records in the league, but one of the worst at home – I’ve never known anything like it in all my time in football.
“It’s not a situation that calls for artistic merit, but one for spirit, character, strength and belief.”
Pools, though, will climb to eighth in the table with victory over Phil Brown’s Preston North End tomorrow night.
And Wadsworth admits he needs a “cup tie” performance from his men.
“It’s a very difficult situation we have to solve and we need help from each other,” he added.
Antony Sweeney took responsibility for the goal which condemned Hartlepool United to a sixth straight home defeat.
The Pools midfielder was outdone by Yeovil Town defender Bondz N’Gala in the first half as he rose to head the game’s only goal direct from a corner-kick.
Sweeney admitted that it was he who was charged with the task of marking the scorer.
But last year’s player of the season also believes Pools fell way short on a team level.
“I think we turned up expecting to win the game, but we just didn’t perform,” he said.
“For their goal it was a slack set-play from myself.
“The lad pinned me and got above me to score the goal – that’s the first mistake.
“But Scott (Flinders) said in the dressing room afterwards that he could have kept it out as well.
“After that they got men behind the ball and frustrated us and did a perfect away job on us.
“But that seems to be the thing at home at the moment – mistakes leading to goals then having to climb a mountain again.”
Sweeney, left, and company were better after the break, but still toiled in the final third despite dominating possession and territory.
The closest they came was when substitute Nathan Luscombe cracked the upright in stoppage time.
But Sweeney concedes that chance was one of precious few.
“If you look at the stats of the game then we’d be on top, but without creating clear-cut chances,” he added.
“We were set up to get Nobby (Solano) on the ball, but it never happened.
“Creativity-wise, he’s our best player and we never got the ball to him to hurt them.
“But Yeovil have done to us what we’ve done to teams when we’re away. We’ve got to stop this run and tomorrow against Preston is massive for us now.”
Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Hartley, Wright, Horwood, Sweeney, Murray (Humphreys 76), Liddle, Solano (Luscombe 64), Poole (Boyd 46), Monkhouse. Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Haslam.
Yeovil: Gilmartin, Ayling, N’Gala, Huntington, Ehmer, Blizzard, Wotton, Clifford (Massey 68), Upson, Agard (MacLean 87), Andrew Williams (Obika 78). Subs Not Used: Stewart, Gilbert. Goals: N’Gala 25.
Ref: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).