November 10, 2013

Notts County - As I Seen It

UP FOR THE CUP

Pools 3, Notts County 2   FA Cup Round 1  Saturday November 9th 2013

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the Vic

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Another sunny day at the Vic for today's encounter that started with a minute’s silence in respect of Armistice Day tomorrow. The Ditchburn Poolie was not happy with a pink ball but rules are rules. 

What upset him even more was that Karl Boyseson was the man in the middle. Like most referees that come to the Vic the Ditchburn has usually done his homework on them and decided from the off that he would have been better going off rabbit hunting than staying put. I tempted him with a concession ticket that he was so pleased with that I almost saw a glimmer of a smile but in his case it was probably wind. 

So the return of Gary Liddle to the Vic, the majestic midfielder. A lot of Poolies thought was such a shame that we let him leave. Well I have news for Mr Liddle, who was now playing at full back: “WE DON’T NEED YOU ANNYYYMMMMOOOORRE." 

Sam was the only change to the Pools side after Burgess collected another card last week, but as I said to the Ditchburn, he looks very calm and relaxed now he is not under any stress of playing every week. One prominent Poolie said to me after the game that it is probably because he has not got the liability of Hartley alongside him now. 

A story I heard before the game was that Sam is now sole coach to the defensive set up at Pools and I must say he has found his vocation. After a run of seven wins in eight games it looks as if Sam is earning his corn. 

Early doors Luke was unlucky not to latch onto a through ball into the box. Franks was also free in the middle but shot well wide of the target. 

As you know of late I have supported the improvement in the play of Walton, but when he screamed again at Duckworth, who failed to control a ball that went out of play, I have to say once again, "have a look at the video son and see how many mistakes you make in a game and you win the coconut hands down every time." It is time he grew up and behaved like a senior player and should take a lead from Aussie who went to Duckworth and put an arm round his shoulder and had a quiet word. I have some devastating news for Mr Walton - Duckworth brings far more to our team than he does, and the majority of the crowd feel the same, apart from the lady who wears her lucky knickers. 

I have to complain about the physicality that Notts County used throughout the game, especially early doors when in the first ten minutes we could have lost both Aussie and Poole, who were constantly targeted with very physical challenges that the man in the middle was blind to. 

The Ditchburn has a theory that if you are an official and you see this going on and you fail to act then you are bringing a rod to your own back. I have a theory that the men in the middle are in the main useless, which is why they are practising their art at this level, and as for the linos, they may as well be in the stand when this type of ref is on the park. Rant over - back to the game. 

Aussie tried a shot that was deflected and had the keeper squirming till it landed on top of the net. Walton must have heard me when he took a corner as he did it right this time and Jack made an even better job of his fantastic header that made it one nil to the Hartlepool. 

Notts were straight back in the game with a fluke of a goal from the corner when Dolan hit a clearing ball that rebounded off a Notts player, leaving Ned with no chance of stopping it. The strong arm tactics were still evident as Poole, on a run down the Millhouse, was rattled from behind. I was in the Town end and saw the knee go into the thigh leaving him in pain on the deck and Mr Boyeson, who was stood over the incident, saw nothing. 

Liddle made his first run into the box just before half time and made a good chip from the edge of the six yard box and Ned had to be at his best to block a clear header from the attacker. Pools were playing some good football and really gelling as a team, both Monky and Baldwin going close. 

This is the point were the Ditchburn made McGregor, the busy midfielder who is on loan from Celtic, the man of the match. I tried to explain that it was not even half time yet but he insisted, as only the Ditchburn can. The fact that McGregor actually saved a certain goal against Pools won the argument for the Ditchburn when he raced in on a shot from their forward that had Ned beat, and managed to wrap his foot round the ball and kick it clear. I thought the object of this exercise was to claim a goal he had not scored as if it was not over the line then it would have been if he had left it alone! So in Ditchburn tonight Mr McGregor is the toast of the town. 

Monky must be on something as the lad is s*** hot lately and gets everywhere, shooting for fun and tackling back, and laying balls off, and winning more than his fair share of headers. For me this was the m.o.m. performance. 

Duckworth is becoming a Poolie favourite and if the club have not signed or even signed this lad to a contract I am bringing a gun to the next home game. His jinking run from the edge of our box to almost the penalty spot at the other end was a joy to watch. He must have left five men in his wake and hit a power drive that the keeper could only block and Luke popped up to slot the ball home to make it two one lead against a very good side who were dangerous on the break and played some good football themselves. 

I thought back to a couple of seasons ago when Pools came out the second half and invariably gave away a goal. Well I hope those days are long gone as we took the fight to them from the off. Notts decided to bring on the really big men to support the big men they already had out and Showunmi is one of the biggest you will see. He is huge and against Pools today hugely ineffective as he just pushed and shoved anyone near to him. "I have a theory that the men in the middle are in the main useless, which is why they are practising their art at this level, and as for the linos, they may as well be in the stand when this type of ref is on the park"

We did have a spell where we went out of the game, again because our lack of ability to clear the ball or even set up some play to get clear, and it kept coming back at us. Once again playing away at home games we let them think they were getting the upper hand, which they were, and the pressure was on. Then we hit them on the break. Dolan, with a free kick, hit the post and Franks hit the rebound back in and it was blocked, but fell to the goal machine and Luke made no mistake, making it 3-1 to the Hartlepool. 

I must have told you in the past that that is my favourite score, and always my prediction to every game we play, so trust Notts to ruin it by sneaking a late goal to make it a 3-2 win for Pools. I read on that twittertweeter thingy that Simon Walton had never won a cup game before. Well “HE” never won this one either but we will let him off if he stops clutching his head in his hands when he makes a balls-up and just gets on with the game. Try chasing the ball and winning it back, Simon, that is what good players like Duckworth do. You are a footballer son, not a bloody actor, so act like one. 

As I said earlier, Monky was my m. o. m., but it was given to Luke and I have no argument with that as he is becoming a top class player who must be back in the sights of the big clubs again. 

Duckworth has been a revelation and is probably also attracting interest from other teams; his work rate is second to none. Just a mention to Poole who also had a very good game. There was one incident where he chased a nothing ball down to the line with three defenders on him. He juggled the ball up and along the line, showing great skill and even won a corner. 

Monky was booked again and looks to be up for another ban, Ned made a save and dropped to his knees on the ball and a Notts player ran and tried to hack the ball through him. Monky took exception to that and pushed him over. Probably the best thing Boyeson did all day was to drag the attacker back down field and booked him too, after booking Monky. 

Now we have a team that we can cheer and be proud of so bring it on Rotherham and Coventry.