Eighty-Eighth Day Winner



Match report by RUNNING MONKEY




Pools 3 Woking 2 (National League)
Saturday February 17th 2018
Victoria Park



Phileas Fogg went round the world in a balloon in eighty days and it took Pools eighty eight days to get two wins on the board. There is probably a better explanation for all the time we've wasted in this division but I am at a loss to explain just what that is.

Pools, after a 'mid-season break', as some wag called it, needed a result after all the shenanigans that have surrounded the club over the last few weeks. One fan who will remain nameless seems to think the next week’s home game with Ebbsfleet will be our last. I have no idea where the Ditchburn Poolie gets his info from; he really must stop wandering around the ground at half time talking to strangers.

Auntie Pam made a statement in today's programme but there has been a lot of duff info flying around lately including some from HUFC. "Hartlepool United chief executive Pam Duxbury has revealed a potential takeover of the club could be completed 'very soon' ". The Pools chief admits that there could be light at the end of the tunnel, with the club seemingly staring into a financial abyss. Further to that, she also admits that a number of interested parties are doing due diligence and things could progress very quickly. She said: "While I am not able to give out too many details at the moment, with regards to the club there are interested parties progressing due diligence, which is very positive and I am hopeful a deal to take over will be done very soon.’’ As longtime fan Kev said, “Did you see that pig fly over the Rink End there?”

We long-suffering fans take promises and statements like this with a pinch of salt. The club has really hit rock bottom with rumours of them not making substitutions recently so as to not pay appearance money.

The sales of chips and burgers at the ground were put out to tender and four different burger fans set up ready for the hungry masses. I did not see any foot long sausages, and chips were hard to find before half time but they reckon the burgers were very good even at £3.50 a shot.

On the playing side, with the squad seemingly decimated at the transfer window, the side that turned out did not look too bad. Loach was in goal and he'd said all along that he wanted to stay. George got a start at right back and had a very good game, Laing did ok but looked a bit rusty. Harrison and Adams completed the back line. It has to be said they were both steady away and Harrison was really brave putting his head into the fray when lesser players would have pulled out.
"Did you see that pig fly over the Rink End there?"

Featherstone and Newton in midfield worked well together and Newton was possibly a candidate for man of the match, and I have no argument with the manager’s choice for strikers when all three, Rodney, Cassidy and Oates, notched a goal.

Rodney broke the deadlock with a cracking shot after he broke free, turned his man and hit a screamer past the keeper. He looked so cool too but it was a shame he could not repeat the task on the five other clear chances he had during the game. I told the Ditchburn he should try a nutmeg now and again instead of blazing his efforts over the bar.

Cassidy got the goal of the day with a very sharp turn and shot after a Woods corner was cleared, battled to win the ball in the scramble and hit a beautiful shot through the crowd of players giving the keeper no chance.

Oates's goal was well deserved as he was struggling early in the game, having not played for a while. He went up for a high ball the keeper should have taken  easily but Oates won the challenge and dinked the ball over the keeper into the net.

Three nil up at half time and we were getting bossed around by the visitors but as we know it is goals that win games. The half time chat was about the Woking goalkeeper who went to collect a ball and found himself stood in the ‘D’ with the ball in his hands. Then, as Pools fans politely expressed their opinion to the official, who was oblivious, the keeper took a backward jump into his box and all was well.

Our first dip into this division has taught me one thing, that is: go down and you get a free kick; get wrestled to the ground and you get nowt. You have to do either a triple salko or a forward spin with pike just to attract the attention of the officials. Also you have to whinge a lot and keep getting in the ref's ear or you will be totally ignored; it is not good enough just to play football.

One instance late in today's game: George was bundled to the ground against the hoardings at the Town End as he guided a long ball from Woking over the line. He was hacked to the ground and stamped on right in front of both us and the ref, and he at least gave us a goal kick. The visitors played the ref all through the game and two non-fouls won them the free kicks that led to both of their goals late in the game. Pools were not alert enough when one free kick following a dive on the edge of the box and a screamer was shot past Loach. In extra time a similar situation arose and a free kick was headed home at the near post, but it was Pools that ran out three two winners which was great to see.

First half we were all over the place and looked a little rusty as our passes kept missing and tackles were broken and Woking came at Pools with a lot of intent. We weathered it for most of the half and broke to score three goals. Second half we backed off, giving them more of the game and it evened out a bit as Pools were determined to keep the points but because of that conceded two.

Woods, Newton, Harrison or any of the scorers could have been Man of the Match