Hartlepool United player ratings photo gallery: 'Learning curve' 'Torrid' - Pools score low after nightmare first half leaves too much to do in Rochdale defeat
Hartlepool were picked apart by a slick Rochdale side in the opening 45 minutes as goals from Cian Hayes, Jimmy Keohane and Ryan East gave the away side an insurmountable lead despite Nicky Featherstone offering John Askey’s side hope deep into first half stoppage time.
Hayes latched onto a route one ball from goalkeeper Louie Moulden to poke by the returning Joel Dixon before Keohane met Kairo Mitchell’s flick on to double the lead.
And the away side pretty much had the game wrapped up when East went unchallenged towards the edge of the area before beating Dixon from distance.
Featherstone gave Pools something of a lifeline with the final kick of the first half with a well-taken goal to reduce the deficit.
But despite a much-improved second half display, with Emmanuel Dieseruvwe scoring his 11th goal of the season in the final five minutes, Pools had given themselves too much to do and were unable to claim an unlikely point as they dropped into the bottom half of the National League table.
And here is how Pools were rated after a third straight defeat:
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