John Askey's response when quizzed over Hartlepool United future

Hartlepool United suffered yet another defeat in the National League when losing 3-2 against Rochdale. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Hartlepool United suffered yet another defeat in the National League when losing 3-2 against Rochdale. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Hartlepool were beaten for a third successive time in the National League over the course of seven days in what has been a wretched period for the club.

Askey’s side produced a torrid opening 45 minutes which saw them fall 3-0 behind thanks to goals from Cian Hayes, Jimmy Keohane and Ryan East.

Nicky Featherstone gave Pools a glimmer of hope deep into first half stoppage time before Emmanuel Dieseruvwe reduced the score further in the closing stages with his 11th goal of the campaign.

But it proved too big a mountain for Hartlepool to climb as they fell to a 10th league defeat in just 18 games so far this season to drop into the bottom half of the National League table and leave Askey’s side almost as close to the bottom four as they are a play-off spot.

It's the second time in their last seven games Hartlepool have lost three consecutive league games as questions will only grow over Askey with the club now set for a two-week break from action.

"Hartlepool is not about managers,” Askey told BBC Radio Tees.

"I’m disappointed. When we lose games I hurt, and probably hurt more than anybody else because I feel as though I’m letting the supporters down.

"I only want what’s best for Hartlepool. And if that means I’m still manager, and that’s the best thing for Hartlepool, then great.

"The chairman has been supportive from day one. But it’s not something I’m thinking about at the moment. I’m just really disappointed with how we played in the first half and how we’ve not got a result.”

And the main reason Hartlepool are without a result is because of their display in the first half.

Pools were behind within three minutes when a simple ball from the goalkeeper found Hayes who was able to beat the returning Joel Dixon much too easily before Keohane doubled Rochdale's lead with a goal just as simple when latching onto Kairo Mitchell’s flick on.

And things got worse for Hartlepool on the stroke of half-time when East was given freedom to advance towards the edge of the area unchallenged before finding the bottom corner, with Featherstone’s crisp finish already too little too late for Pools.

READ MORE: Hartlepool 2 Rochdale 3: Pools end wretched week in defeat

"The first half was as worse as you can possibly see,” explained Askey.

"The first goal kills us. Their keeper with a straight forward ball and their player is able to run straight through which, honestly, from a defensive point of view is ridiculous.

"It doesn’t seem to matter who plays in the back four or back three, we have issues. But the first two goals are horrendous. So it gave us a mountain to climb.

"The second half we changed it and we looked a different team, but it was too little too late. You cannot play for 45 minutes like that.”