December 09, 2013

Portsmouth - As I Seen It

PLAN B
REQUIRED 

Pools 0, Portsmouth 0   League 2  Saturday November 30th 2013

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the Vic

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Lots of police in attendance today as the EDF decided it was time for booze up in the Clarendon in Tower Street then a march through the town.

Earlier in the week I was handed a flyer with an Anti-EDF group claiming they were coming to disrupt this demonstration. The upshot was that I saw more policemen than protestors, and Pools have to pay for some of the extra policing. 

There was a kind of skirmish going on behind the Mill House stand at half time as the jeers from the crowd alerted the police, who hurried to the scene, but whatever it was we never saw a thing, officer. 

Rumours were that we tried to sign a player from the Toon on loan (either Vuckic or Tavernier) but the seventy percent of the wage could possibly have been out of our reach. Good business on Pools' part, for a player who will possibly be shipped out of the Toon at Christmas had joined Rotherham instead of Pools. As we had supposedly spent £40,000 getting shot of Steve Howard, we were feeling the pinch, if you can believe the terrace chat that is. 

The visitors today were in turmoil, having just parted company with their manager, and Richie Barker said to be standing by, rumoured to have been ousted for talking to Portsmouth. 

Carson in goal for the visitors had a Mackem connection but is reported to have had more clubs than Tony Jacklin. The Ditchburn Oracle was very quiet on the matter of officials. He has turned over a new leaf having discovered a new toy - a website for looking up referees. I thought that was a dirty job that junior doctors had to do, but if it works for the Ditchburn then that is good news. 

" The idea of playing a single striker up front at home was not going down too well with the fans as Luke was getting nowhere."


Actually he was more than quiet on the ref front today other than saying this ref is a good un. He did say the same about the much-maligned Mmmathieson, so you'd think he might have learned his lesson. He did quote a couple of unprintable comments on the man in the middle today from a Smoggie and a Donny fan, but you know the typical Yorkshire type, tight wi' the brass but always plenty to say. Mr Tierney from Lancashire probably never gave a toss about comments. 

Pools started brightly and Duckworth gave Poole an early chance to shoot and test the keeper. Number 18 for the visitors had a good shot blocked in front of Ned. Pools were building down the left and playing some good passing football. Luke raced through and laid on a ball for Monky, whose effort won us a corner. Carson in goal looked very dodgy as the ball came in and he flapped at it as Pools piled in on his area, giving Pools a second corner which was cleared. A good covering tackle was made by Jack as the visitors broke. 

Portsmouth had a great chance as a strong low shot beat Ned, hit his left hand post and ran along the line, just crawling out for a goal kick, a real let off for Pools. Duckworth, doing well out wide, was brought down but the Dolan free kick was hit over the bar. A second shot was blocked and cleared by Duckworth. 

Portsmouth again had hard luck when a shot on the turn was blocked by Ned. It became a bit of an end-to-end game as Portsmouth stepped up their game and Pools, playing a lone striker up front, were struggling to get any clear chances. Monky sent in a low drive that the keeper turned around the post, Walton also made a run across the goal and fired in a shot that Carson turned away. Portsmouth had an appeal for a penalty turned down just before half time.

Pools had a good spell at the start of the second half, but we were still giving the ball away too cheaply. We become too predictable and the hoof out by Flinders was invariably slung straight back at us. 

Luke was getting starved of decent service. The idea of playing a single striker up front at home was not going down too well with the fans as Luke was getting nowhere. Monky was playing too deep to help out. Duckworth was doing well down the wing but Poole just could not break free from his markers. They had done their homework on us, but Poole and Luke never gave up trying as Pools piled on the pressure. 

Ned made a great save from their no. 7 who was possibly the most threatening player on the park, who incidentally they took off shortly after his effort, bringing on a defender as they were holding out for the draw. Poole went off again for Sweeney. Luke, racing in, turned and made a hell of a shot that was straight at the keeper and that was as close as we came all game. 

A Walton dive gave us a free kick and the keeper tipped a Dolan shot over the bar after a second consecutive corner, as Pools went in for the kill, but the last chance fell to Jack who blazed his ball over the net.

I suppose on balance a draw was a good result for us but they were there for the taking if we could have had a little more guile and a bit more luck. I have to praise Mr. Walton, well for his first half display at least, as he hit some great long balls across the park, but he really has to learn how to tackle more consistently. Dolan was named Man-of-the-Match and deserved it after a good performance, but how long can we hang onto him now? 

Portsmouth were a workmanlike side but once again we fail to overcome a team in a lower position who were ripe for the taking. We need a plan “B” for these games but we also need someone that can apply such a plan.

Bring on the challenge Coventry.