November 03, 2013

Scunthorpe - As I Seen It

WINNING STREAK ENDS

Scunthorpe United 1, Pools 0   League 2 Saturday October 26th 2013

Match report by ALREET at Glanford Park

____________________________________




So, it's on to Scunny then, a fixture that recalls contrasting memories. Not a lucky place, I know, but I did manage to see us win there last season. 

That said, I recall the bizarre match where we were walloped but still managed to win promotion at the same time. Then there was a fixture on New Years Day many moons back played on a really miserable afternoon at the Old Show Ground.

I also remember walking from the High Street to the Old Show Ground when I suddenly developed a one-off "sciatica" type pain down one leg. I spent the game wandering around on the terrace to keep it moving as it was bloody painful standing still. I was crapping myself at the thought of the three hour train journey home but, fortunately, it eased about halfway through the journey.

Anyway, prior to the kick off on Saturday, they had the usual pre-match 'entertainment' which included a best of three question and answer session between two rival supporters. Having got his nose one nil in front, the Pools lad was asked; "When Hartlepool's most famous manager, Brian Clough, was first appointed, what did he say? Was it (a) "Where is Hartlepool?", (b) "I don't like the place" or (c) " I've got a pet monkey so I can't go there"". He opted for (b) while the Scunny lad thought it was (c) [!!!] so two nil to Pools - a good omen for the match maybe?

Pools kicked off playing towards the home end and tried to pass the ball about but there did not seem to be the same level of fluidity in their play compared to the previous weeks. It was a bit disjointed with periods of possession and, worryingly, a rather large empty area in front of Duckworth which was regularly exploited. On several occasions, he seemed to be faced by three opponents with their raiding number three getting free with powerful overlapping runs and delivering crosses in to the box. Luckily for us, Flinders, Burgess and co. were on form and dealt with this threat reasonably comfortably but it made for squeaky bum viewing.

 Franks was operating on the left with Monkie on our right but the latter has a tendency to drift inside to good effect which has resulted in some tremendous shots being struck but it's not too clever defensively. Dolan was having more of an impact and was spraying long balls about and Franks, operating on our left, made space for himself in the box before firing in a left footed drive which "I'm free/ Have you seen my pussy? etc." in the Scunny goal managed to parry away.

A long ball in from the right was met acrobatically by James who dived past his marker but his header lacked sufficient power or direction to trouble the keeper. This was unlucky because his effort to get on the end of the cross in the first place deserved more. Poole worked his way in from the left before dragging his shot wide. He was then hacked down from behind while on a similar run.

Walton was playing some decent balls around midfield but Monkie could only drill one wide from a free hit. We managed to exert some concerted pressure for the final ten minutes of the first half but the James/ Poole/ Monkie combination lacked any real potency and hadn't hit the heights they had reached before."Scunny were very average and although we weren't at our best, we had enough chances to have left with the three points"

On fifty minutes, Monkie tried another "Mansfield" but on this occasion, his shot clipped a defender before deflecting on to the post and going behind for a corner. He then tried a similar effort but again it came to nothing. We were beginning to show the tempo from earlier games but only in fits and starts. Poole left around the hour mark to be replaced by Walker and James and Walton were later replaced in quick succession by Rodney and Sweeney but the moves made no discernible difference to our fortunes.

Rodney went up front but was little more than nuisance value although he did neatly dummy his marker and made space to get an effort in but only managed to poke his shot wide of the left post.

In between the first substitutions came disaster as Burgess in attempting to slide the ball back to the advancing Flinders left him short and their attacker took full advantage and passed it into the far corner. It was a disappointing way to end our winning streak as Scunny were very average and although we weren't at our best, we had enough chances to have left with the three points.

Flinders was rarely threatened, Aussie put in another solid performance, Baldwin and Burgess (apart from his lapse) were class and Duckworth's performances seem to improve by the week. He provides an excellent outlet with his powerful runs from deep and seems to have energy to spare. As I feared though, Franks is not as influential or productive as Compton and we miss the outlet the latter provides. Finally, a word in praise of the ref who let the game flow and was hardly noticed throughout the ninety seven minutes.

The only consolation was that we were staying with Edith's family in Donny for a couple of days so I was 'home' in just over thirty minutes. Apart from those occasions when I have seen Pools at Torquay and been staying down there, that is far and away the quickest I have returned from a Pools match.