Phil Parkinson issued an apology to 100-plus travelling Altrincham fans after a second successive defeat on the road cost the Robins their place in the National League play-off positions at Hartlepool’s Suit Direct Arena on Tuesday night.

The Alty boss could have few complaints about the outcome at the EBB Stadium on Saturday after Aldershot Town turned on the style and were good value for their 2-0 win in front of the TNT Sports cameras.

But he admitted losing 3-2 at Hartlepool and dropping to eighth place after completely dominating the first half and leading 1-0 was “a really difficult one to take” as the home side turned the tables with two goals in three minutes at the start of the second half.

“We had great support from our fans, but they were angry at the end, which I understand,” he said after making five changes to the team that started at Aldershot.

“All we can do is apologise after all the travel they have gone through, but that’s the highs and lows you experience supporting a football team.

“I’m desperately disappointed we couldn’t deliver the result they wanted, but you can’t start a second half like we did.

“We were masters of our own downfall, and that’s so frustrating. We will go through it all on Thursday, and there will be some uncomfortable conversations, because there were things I was not happy with.”

Alty bid to return to winning ways at home to Maidenhead United on Saturday (3pm), and, referring to the play-offs, Parkinson added: “We need maximum points from our remaining home games and maybe a couple of wins on the road as well.

“Everyone is talking about promotion, but we are lacking a bit of consistency and are maybe not quite there yet.

“This was certainly a reality check. We know we are better than that, but there are lessons to be learned and we have to take them on board quickly.”