Chairman Ken Hodcroft believes last month's 3-0 defeat at Oldham was the decisive blow in Hartlepool's relegation from npower League One.

Five wins in a seven-match unbeaten run beginning at the end of January and spanning the whole of February sparked hopes of an improbable escape from a relegation made seemingly inevitable by Pools' dismal form during the first half of the season.

But an eight-game winless and goalless run followed, including the reverse at Boundary Park, meaning wins in their last two outings could not prevent John Hughes' men from a fate confirmed by Latics' 1-0 triumph over Yeovil on Tuesday night.

In a statement on Hartlepool's official website, Hodcroft said: "The demise was confirmed by Oldham's win against Yeovil - or were Hartlepool finally moved into the critical ward on the Tuesday evening of March 19 after months of observation, finally contracting the 'Oldham disease' that fateful night?"

Extending the metaphor, he added: "To fight disease you have to be strong and resistant and ensure the correct diagnosis is made.

"However, survival was finally 'out of our hands' as they say. 'Six-pointers' came and went and home conditions in early March were not helping the patient. League One status was dead."

Hodcroft went on to promise fans that a full review of the team's failing would be undertaken.

"Those of you with good memories, and access to archives, may want to review my programme notes of 06.05.06 - the last time the club were relegated," he continued.

"In that I said, 'This is not an acceptable end to the season, there is no quick solution - we will review all aspects of this season and attempt to find the best way forward in the coming months.'

"Those remarks still apply for the days ahead after the end of this season."