IN the heady and hopeful days of summer, Matthew Bates spoke positively about getting Hartlepool United’s home form turned around.

Pools have, for season after season, lost more games in front of their own fans than they have won.

Last night, as he sat in the press suite at the Super 6 Stadium, Bates had just watched his team capitulate to a 3-1 home humbling to Barnet – their fourth National League defeat in a row and their third home defeat of the campaign, the same number as they have won in front of their own fans.

“It’s down to everyone to keep going and when they scored the second we allowed it to affect us too much,’’ he mused.

“Confidence is lacking, it’s a major thing. We aren’t going great at home. We go to Gillingham, a great performance and come home and make the wrong decisions. It’s something I need to look at. Today wasn’t really good enough.’’

Pools started well, went in front and then after conceding a leveller instantly gifted the visitors a second. The third, coming in injury time with the game already as good as gone, was every bit as poor as the previous one shipped.

After a bit of an uneasy moment in the Pools area when keeper Scott Loach seemed to come for the ball slowly before being awarded a free-kick, Bates’ side took the lead.

Goalkeeper Mark Cousins shot off his line to make a mess of a Kenton Richardson ball in, Paddy McLaughlin pushed the ball across goal – he could have scored himself – and teed up Peter Kioso for a sidefoot finish off the inside of the post.

After a red card in his most disappointing performance for Pools two weeks ago, this was a positive reaction from the centre-half. Unfortunately, his good work was soon undone.

Richardson had a pop at goal from distance, his low drive pushed just wide.

From being well on top and in command, Pools contrived to throw their advantage away and they never recovered.

A tasty cross from the right by Cheye Alexandre to the edge of the six-yard area saw Manny Duku power above Kioso and smash his header past Loach from close range.

Should Loach have been off his line for the ball? Only the harshest of critics would apportion blame. A delivery of that quality left the cross 70-30 in the striker’s favour.

But straight from the kick-off, Pools passed it back and square to Kioso. He turned, was robbed with ease by Duku who got away and clipped confidently past the advancing Loach.

Pools were shaken by the turnaround, such is the fragile nature of their confidence at the Super 6 Stadium. The crowd, as is normally the case, became edgy with loose passes causing a smattering of boos.

The early momentum deflated; they were devoid of ideas as the half passed by.

Only a sharp Loach stop kept out a Barnet third after the break as a corner was curled into the near post and pushed off the line.

Pools were thumping too many balls up to Luke James. He’s never, for all his honesty and application, going to win headers against big National League centre-halves. He scored five in as many games for Barrow last season; someone at Pools should be looking back to March and discovering the secret of his success.

Tyrone O’Neill, on loan from Middlesbrough, was replaced by Niko Muir on 64 minutes. O’Neill’s link up play was willing, but he will have learned a lot about proper football rather than his usual Academy games.

James did have a sniff of a chance, nodding a Kenton Richardson cross at goal, but also against the back of the covering Jack Taylor.

Off went Paddy McLaughlin and on came Marcus Dinanga, Pools going with a 4-2-3-1 set-up for the final stages.

But the visitors kept up their workrate and pressure, not allowing Pools time on the ball to pass or cross; forcing Pools to take the harder option.

A bit of pressure saw Niko Muir have a half chance, Liam Noble the same. Nothing came from them.

But the visitors completed the afternoon with a third. Myles Anderson embarrassingly slipped, lost his footing, tumbled and by the time he scrambled to his feet, Josh Walker was away and clipping in a third. It capped a routine home defeat.

Bates added: “We were our own worst enemy at times. We conceded two soft goals, the second one was horrendous really and our willingness to run and want to the ball went from there.

“We tried to get them back in at half time and go again, but we huffed and puffed.

“It was concerning how the goal affected us. We all want to go on and win it, but individual errors cost us. It’s down to a mistake, we all make them as players, but it goes around the rest of the players on the pitch and we didn’t’ recover from it.’’

Midfielder Michael Woods is today expected to sign for Harrogate. He was left out of the squad yesterday and his four and a half year stay is at an end.

Bates said: “Woodsy wasn’t in the squad, he’s in discussions with another team. He asked the summer if he could leave, but we worked with him. Something has come up and it’s not fair to have him in when something is going on.’’