John Askey left conflicted after Hartlepool United's draw with Ebbsfleet United and the decision he felt went against Pools

John Askey was unhappy with the awarding of Ebbsfleet United's second goal but admits Hartlepool United must improve. (Photo: Frank Reid)
John Askey was unhappy with the awarding of Ebbsfleet United's second goal but admits Hartlepool United must improve. (Photo: Frank Reid)

Hartlepool were second best for much to their contest with Ebbsfleet as many of Askey’s concerns prior to the club’s two week break from action resurfaced.

Pools once again were unable to keep a clean sheet after they were pegged back twice within minutes of taking the lead.

Emmanuel Dieseruvwe continued his fine run of form with a superb low strike from distance which beat the outstretched Mark Cousins before clipping the inside of the post to mark his 12th goal of the season – his sixth in his last five league appearances.

It felt as though that should have been the perfect start for Askey’s side to put their early season struggles behind them, only for the visitors to quickly level through Billy Clifford’s well-placed strike from the edge of the area.

It triggered what would be a tentative 45 minutes from Pools as Ebbsfleet forced Joel Dixon into a series of smart saves to keep Askey’s side in the game.

Ebbsfleet continued to threaten the most in what was largely a poor second half before Pools looked to have snatched what would have been a priceless three points when surprise substitute Jake Hastie struck in the 90th minute.

But Hartlepool were unable to negotiate eight minutes of added time as Dominic Samuel was on hand to convert from close range from Mustapha Olagunju’s cut back to claim a share of the spoils, with Askey's side now four without a win in the National League.

Askey felt disgruntled with the decision to allow Samuel’s late equaliser with the assist coming from what he felt was an offside Olagunju.

But the Pools boss was also accepting of his side’s below-par performance in what was another disappointing afternoon.

READ MORE: Pools ratings in late Ebbsfleet draw

"I know we need to play better, that’s one thing for sure, but being a goal ahead with minutes to go then you should see it out. It’s disappointing that we didn’t,” explained Askey.

"It was a silly free kick to give away. Having said that, when the free kick has come in and the lad has flicked it on, their player who has pulled it back is offside.

"But again, having said that, when he pulls it back we’ve still not reacted. We’ve not got a contact on the first header, the second ball we can’t do much about when he’s offside, but you can do something about the third contact.

"So, again, it’s poor defending and, again, we’ve conceded two goals and you cannot go through games every week conceding two goals. It’s ridiculous and we could have conceded more.

“There were times earlier in the season when we’d be two or three up and we’d concede a daft goal and it doesn’t matter then. But when you’re not playing particularly well it does. There are certain players you can see they’re lacking confidence.”