December 16, 2013

Cheltenham - As I Seen It

HALF AND HALF AGAIN

Cheltenham Town 2, Pools 2   League 2 Saturday December 14th 2013

Match report by BILL THE BIRO at Whaddon Road

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I went the 31 miles to my nearest Pools fixture for the first time for a few years and not much had changed.

The old main stand, which looks not dissimilar to the old wooden one at the Vic (apart from not being wooden), still has the weird diving board contraptions on the roof that remain from their Conference days (Did Ashley Young in his youth spend some time there on loan?).

Pools' line-up seemed a bit hard to fathom, with no Poole, no James and no Compton, but they were all on the bench. Holden was on the wing, Sweeney in the middle and Franks up front. Strange.

Pools were second best from the off, and a defensive mix-up gave Cheltenham a goal after only 4 minutes. Cheltenham were more organised without looking like world beaters.

Pools did have the odd foray and Franks was causing the odd problem up front. Holden, especially was doing a good job on the left wing, but there was a general lethargy about Pools.

Towards half time poor defensive work allowed Cheltenham a good header which looped over Flinders for their second.

Pools then pulled one back through Franks but the linesman spotted something that the ref (and all of the Poolies, who were as close as the ref to the incident) didn't see, so it was disallowed.
"Monky was booked for a foul he knew nothing about, even if the bloke he kicked did"
General consensus at half time was that we wouldn't rescue this.

At the restart both teams made changes. Compton came on in place of the Pools player who was making the most impression on the game, Holden. Strange.

However, this, as has been seen recently at the Vic, was a game of two halves, and Compton's enthusiasm seemed to rub off on the rest of the team, and Pools more or less dominated from then on.

After a few minutes a long, wind-assisted punt upfield from Flinders caught out a defender, allowing Franks to score. Game on.

Pools equalised from Franks again and then never looked in danger of losing, but couldn't get the winner. However a lot of us Poolies were very happy with the result.

Some points of note:
Flinders had a bit of an off day, gifting a chance to the opposition that wasn't taken up, and also trying to riskily play football outside the penalty area.
Sweeney was ineffective and anonymous.
Monky was booked for a foul he knew nothing about, even if the bloke he kicked did.
But for the disjointed team selection Pools may have collected all the points.

Let's hope the full team plays on Tuesday against Coventry in the FA Cup replay.