CARL MAGNAY wasn’t going to hold back. The dejection and disappointment was clear. Hartlepool United’s captain cut a studious figure as he fronted up the media on Saturday evening.

Following a dressing-room lock in, when the players held a heated and firm debate into their defeat to Maccclesfield, Magnay admitted the mistakes which proved so costly cannot continue.

He included himself and his role in Macclesfield’s 85th minute equaliser, while the second goal was a series of errors which culminated in Keith Lowe heading in unmarked from close range.

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Pools should not have lost this game. But it’s more points chucked away, and it should not have happened.

Magnay admitted as much.

"We looked at both goals after the match to see where it went wrong,’’ he reflected. "How many times are we going to be here, we can't unless we don't want to achieve anything.

"It's getting to the stage now where if we get cut any further adrift we have no chance of getting promoted.

"I think now is the time to be brutally honest as a group, if you are not pulling your weight, not doing your job diligently for the full 90 minutes then someone else will have to come in and do it.

"It's as simple as that. We can't keep talking about the same things week-in, week-out.’’

Supporters have had enough of talk, they need words to be backed up by actions on the pitch. Magnay agreed: "I am not going to be one of those players who sit here and paper over the cracks and give out cliches.

"The fans deserve a bit of honesty and we as a group of players defensively allowed us to get hit on the break and beaten by a set-piece and it's nowhere near good enough.’’

Pools played well for 80-odd minutes and were in control. They led through Michael Woods’ first-half goal and should have had a second, which would surely have been enough to earn a welcome and deserved home victory.

Instead, the players were booed off at the end.

Asked what the feeling was after the game, his reply was simple: "Frustration.

"There were some good passages of play through the game, at times we've played some nice football and created opportunities. Certainly a lot more than down at Ebbsfleet and that's a positive.

"We're a broken record, we're at a point where if we are going to achieve anything we have to be brutally honest.

"We're all good friends but, in any line of work, if you keep making mistakes or not doing the job properly then decisions have to be made, but that's out of our hands.

"We'll work hard during the week to correct where we've gone wrong, but we've said it before, it's like a merry-go-round.

"It's frustrating for everyone involved, the supporters in particular.

"To have played well only adds to the frustration, arguably we should have had the game wrapped up, we should have been at least two up and then you see out the game comfortably.

"At 1-0 you are already treading a fine line."

The players were made to look back at the goals conceded, boss Craig Harrison pointing the costly mistakes out to the squad.

They were all held to account and Magnay, a firm voice in the dressing room and around the training ground, admitted too many of his team-mates have had too many chances.

"I love my team-mates, every single one, and they are an honest bunch of people, no-one hides or shies away from what's gone on,’’ he said.

"Unfortunately you might be best mates - but when it comes to winning games there has to be a ruthless way of going about it.

"It sounds harsh but it means players coming out of the team and others coming in, but that has happened.

"If I was the gaffer, I'd be sat there scratching my head

"The only thing we can do as players is work hard to put things right, the gaffer has worked hard to put things right.

"We haven't got money to buy in players from a higher level to help us out, that's not possible.’’

Magnay made a return to action on Saturday following hernia surgery. He had two days full training under his belt at the end of last week.

"I did not feel any ill effects in that area where I had my operation, but I was blowing after 25 minutes which surprised me a bit because, aerobically I'm usually quite good when I come back from injury,’’ he said.

"I was tired but still felt comfortable in the game.

"The only way I'll get fitter is by playing more games.

"I had to be clever in when I got forward and when I sat back - I struggled a bit fitness wise.’’