February 14, 2015

Northampton (h) - As I Seen It




DO OR DIE


POOLS 1 - NORTHAMPTON TOWN 0
League Two  Tuesday 10th February 2015
Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at The Vic

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This week's two home games have been dubbed ‘Do or Die’ and Pools never say die. Despite some already saying we are down, my motto is 'where there is life there is hope', and tonight the lads proved the point. We can still survive.

One massive factor in our favour is that Mr. Moore is in charge, and his attitude seems to be rubbing off on the lads as we have just beaten three of the higher clubs at the Vic and we deserved those wins on the balance of play.

The recent takeover events at the Vic have to have put some stress on both manager and players over the last few weeks with the on-off buy-out situation. One interesting fact from yesterday’s game was that it was the first one I can remember when we had three black players in the starting line up.

Northampton came to the Vic in good form, being a couple of results away from a playoff position, while Pools had had hard luck getting beaten late on at Portsmouth, when once again a team that had not won in the last ten sneaked a result at the death. How many times has that happened to Pools over the years?

Tonight the gods were playing havoc with our selection as an ankle injury was making Fenwick miss the game, and on recent form he will be a big loss. Master Bates, who has lifted his game a little, was out, along with Jones, who is improving with every game.

With the north-east fog drifting over the Vic, Horwood was making a return with the visitors, but was invisible. Until I saw the team sheet later I had not noticed him.

Also returning was the that lady lino. The Ditchburn Poolie complains that no woman ever understands the offside rule and so it proved during the game. It was a bit cruel of the officials but she was put down the Millhouse side, although on her last visit she was getting grief from the CK stand too. The Ditchburn was not happy either about the ref, who he claimed he did not know, but a local ref has never given Pools a fair crack of the whip. That could be said about most officials at the Vic, but I would say that as I am biased.

For the first half the Ditchburn was spot on, and it has to be said Northampton, like most teams, like to try and bully us and Northampton did their best to hack and chop their way through our team, with Aussie getting clobbered early on and being down for some time.

Despite this, Pools were doing ok, and one slip by Harrison as he miscued a header, let in an attacker with a free shot, but Ned was equal to it and dropped, but immediately smothered the ball.

Pools started to get numbers in the Northampton box and retained a lot of the ball throughout the half, but once again the worry was "Could we make it count?" Some fans seemed to think Compton had a point to prove, but the lad never stopped running at the visitors, and was given some special Northampton treatment for his troubles.

Northampton found their stride late in the half and Mirfin made what the Ditchburn claimed was a goal-saving block to thwart the visitors. Flinders made a great diving save to push a drive past the post as the half came to an end.

Flinders was in action early in the second half, again diving full-length to push a ball round the post, and he and the lads looked comfortable in defence against the visitors.

"Suddenly a patch of black ice appeared and Compton, racing in unmarked, had his legs whipped from under him."

Pools were soaking it up and coming back at the visitors with pace from Compton and Franks down the wings, and to a lesser extent from Marlon down the middle.

As I said earlier, the gods were playing silly buggers, and they got it right this time when the visitors' keeper tried to play a ball out. It bounced off the knee of the centre back and dropped for Morgan, who very calmly slotted the ball home. There were a few latecomers heading back from the half-time bar that missed the goal, so the Ditchburn gave them a running commentary on the goal of the season.

On the balance Pools deserved this lead, making some good runs and defending like demons at the other end. This action upset the visitors, and as the ref had remembered to bring his cards out this half, he was going to need them.

Marlon, as we know, is not the fastest player on the books, and when linking with the pacy Compton they were causing problems. In one attack, Marlon down the left was trying to reach Compton, coming in from the right, when the gods again messed up. Suddenly a patch of black ice appeared and Compton, racing in unmarked, had his legs whipped from under him.

For my money Woods was the man of the match, as he never stopped pushing the lads forward, spraying class balls out to the flanks, causing the visitors to go into panic mode as they tried to get back into the game.

It has to be said Marlon had two easy chances late in the game and he never came near the goal. Play like that could cost us. One in particular was so far wide he nearly hit the corner flag. In the late stages Northampton came at us mob-handed, and Ned made two good saves near the end. O'Toole for the visitors had been putting himself about all the game and the ref finally caught up with him late in the game when he took out Tishi, then instantly tried to put Franks in the stand, which earned him a card and a hook from their manager, as he seemed to have lost the plot on the field.

A great result for Pools and keeps the lifeline going. The half-time chat was that if we were to go down then IOR would only support one shot to get out of non-league, but if we do survive there will be pots of money for Ronnie Moore to strengthen for next term.