RUNNING MONKEY has seen it all before - a few days before!
After an awful display on Saturday, today’s game against PNE was the perfect chance to bounce back.
Thirteen games without a win for Preston and six games without a win at home for Pools - it was a perfect recipe for disaster for one of the two. After the minute's “APPLAUSE” for Gary Speed I wondered then why have we changed from a minutes silence which I find more respectful, although the last one we had at Pools the turnstiles clanked all the way through it and people with big gobs stood and argued with the stewards once in the ground so maybe it is a better idea.
The game started brightly enough, with the team everyone was supposed to be clamouring for. Boyd and Poole up front with Monky and Sweeny out wide and Liddle dropped to the bench. Was this a daring risk or a clutch at a straw by the management? Time will tell."again despite the change in formation you wonder where we are going to get a goal from"
Boydie looked up for it and is still the fans' favourite in some quarters. He turned and had a snap shot that went straight at the keeper. Ned was in action at the other end tipping a speculative shot over the bar. Pools won a cheap corner from a Flinders punt and Horwood sent in a good cross that Hartley headed over the bar. Sweeney had the same result with his header but in an end-to-end opening it was looking good. The ref did miss a penalty claim that everyone in the Millhouse saw, but I was too far from the action so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
As in the last home game, we were soon a goal down, after Mellor who I think put three past us for the Wendies, hit a good shot from outside the area to take the lead. This was so disappointing as we had played reasonably well, but once again lacked any real threat from our possession, and again despite the change in formation you wonder where we are going to get a goal from.
Second half was just the same as Saturday, Preston buoyed by their success were up for the fight and in our faces at every opportunity. They broke well down both flanks and we were having a torrid time in defence as the service from their midfield was excellent, and we spent a long time chasing the ball then giving it back cheaply.
Sweeney on a charge into the box could not connect with his header and the ball was cleared. Ned had to make two good stops in succession - first a low shot, and then, after Horwood had been skinned, he raced to cover the ball.
Luscombe and Liddle came on and we did step up a bit. Poole was battered all game by the big centre half who for most of the game just laid over him pushing him to the ground. Poole did get one good effort on goal in that was tipped over, but was starved of any real possession against a determined Preston side.
It was in the later stages of the game that the man in the middle seemed to spot the treatment meted out to Poole and got out the card. All in all I thought the ref had a good game. The game was becoming more physical and Wright was booked for a flying tackle, and Monky and Coutts almost came to blows as the ref stepped in and had a word. We could have gone two down as Preston missed a simple chance - the forward hitting his shot wide from close range.
I just cannot see how this team who for a lot of the game played us off the park could go thirteen games without a win. On the other hand it is plain to see why we could go seven games without a win. We lack a striker with a killer touch despite some of the forwards playing well enough. MW in the earlier night Mail said “Lets get ugly” The crowd of 4150 last night thought this was ugly.