Hitting the Ground Losing


Match report by RUNNING MONKEY



Pools 1 Sutton United 3 (National League)
Saturday 3 August 2019
Victoria Park



This season's opener saw a good crowd at Pools, all hoping for a good start. Before the game we were discussing chances for the season and after watching four pre-season games I was really upbeat and predicted a top-three spot for Pools. A good job I am not a betting man, unlike the lady just along from me who has already put a whole pound on Pools to win promotion.

Sadly, by half time I had revised my expectations to mid way in the table. It was sad to watch our lack of enthusiasm and negative play in the first gruelling forty minutes. Two good goals from a very lively BEAUTYMAN were a real set back (who should be in a model's parlour with a name like that, and not on a football field.

People behind the goal criticised our keeper at least for the header but he was nowhere near the first one, and he was never really challenged. We have to wake up as these sides are on the ball and take no prisoners. Despite having rail travel problems - all the Southern Poolies travelling to the game took up all the seats and some of their players had to stand throughout the journey - this was no drawback to Sutton as they ran riot for the first half.

I felt for our young full-back Critchlow-Noble who had a nightmare against a big bustling winger that was an old hand at taking in raw kids. What annoyed me more was that the Pools team left him exposed and gave little help to the lad. The Ditchburn Poolie thought he would not come out second half but Higgy showed good management and kept the lad on until he found his feet and put in some great crosses which must have given him some confidence. As I mentioned before, in the pre-season games he was looking a star.

Kabamba scrambled an effort in late in the half but second half the Sutton game management plan came into play. We saw a lot of this last season with players taking turns to go down holding their heads as once that is done the ref has to stop the game. This was getting monotonous; every time Pools looked to be making some headway Sutton were down on the ground feigning injury. One of the main culprits was their keeper who, when taking kicks had to fiddle with both his shin pads four times and replace the ball another three times, and it took the ref ninety-two minutes to speak to him.
"every time Pools looked to be making some headway Sutton were down on the ground feigning injury"

Young Richardson is developing into a canny player and he was really taken out of the game in a bad way as he followed the ball over the line way down the Millhouse side. Sutton's Jarvis launched into him even though he was off the pitch; the lad limped off and I'm not sure on how bad the injury is.

The visitors were fighting a rear guard action for most of the second half but we just could not break them down as they kept to their game plan. Do we criticise Higgy for his selection? He has injuries but let’s hope today was an experiment and we get it right at Halifax. Not the start we were all hoping for.

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