RUNNING MONKEY sees the the unbeaten run end

It was a long week waiting for the arrival of our nemesis from Cardiff, probably more to do with the fact that, like a good wine, I do not travel. So two weeks without live footy is a long time in anybody’s life. It has been one of those fixtures that when the games for the season are announced, you just want to get at 'em and try and get the taste of defeat out of your system. This is “The“ team that every Poolie wants to give a good stuffing to, and the truth is we have not done it now since the first time the giants of Yorkshire football joined little 'ole Hartlepool at this level, and the Boyd danced around them in the rain. 

I could go on for page after page on how they mock our lowly position in the football world, with quotes like “we will never play you again” after the Cardiff stitch up. NO we are bigger and better than that and I will just ask what are the likes of you, the mighty Wendies, with all your wealth and massive support, doing scratching around the lower reaches of the Football League? You should be up there with the elite but sadly you have been rubbish at that level for some time now and you will have to make do. I was in fact tempted to stay at home today and watch the tide come in, after reading the message boards such as Owls Talk where the Wendy supporters were predicting 4,5,6 goals against us, and how terrified we would be when they let Madine loose on us, what a hoot. 

The only good thing about today’s visit was the fact they brought 1002 fans and they had to pay top whack to see us. My guess is there were a few Wendies sprinkled around the other three stands too. Either that or the cheap ticket deal has attracted a lot of Yorkshire people to the Vic. You can pick them out by the way they walk and how silent they are when the Pools fans are in full voice. 

An unchanged line up for Pools sounded ok, old heads for what could potentially be a tough game. The devil was at work from the off, the dreaded “CLEM” was here with his entourage, doing a feature for the Footy League Show. What a patronising bar steward he is. "I will just ask what are the likes of you, the mighty Wendies, with all your wealth and massive support, doing scratching around the lower reaches of the Football League?"

Then the Wendies won the toss and turned us round. I hate that, and think it should be stopped (memo to the FL, home team picks the way they start a game, it will stop fans like me getting upset). First attack and a Solano trademark cross almost caught them out, but it was too high for the Boyd and Sweeney stretching headed it wide. Pools were switching the ball .RH chipped in a ball and won a corner and Murray skinned his marker but his cross was too deep, but good stuff from Pools ,taking the game to them. Solano was having a field day out wide wining the lost cause then sending in some superb crosses that set panic in the Wendies' back line, but no one was connecting with them. 

On the break they were fast and stretched us at times. It has to be said we lacked pace all over the park today. Sam was booked for a challenge on him after he won the ball. The attacker clattered him and went down in agony, and once again the big time Charlie fell for it hook line and sinker. It is not the first time I have complained about this type of refereeing but lets just say it was “free kick day for free for the Wendies" today.

A long ball was pushed out by Pools, and the resulting throw was met by the biggest man on the pitch, who just glanced it past Ned and in off the side netting at the back post. It was a very good goal and Pools will be disappointed at conceding the way they did. Pools tried to get back on terms but it was looking increasingly more difficult. Nish did win one header that Boydie picked up and a clever back heel to Lidds set up a chance but his shot was blocked. Ned was at full stretch when he made a two-handed push of a save over the bar from a speculative Wendies shot but it was becoming too easy for them. The next Wendies attack, Ned jumped for a ball and set his knee into the back of the forward, no not deliberately but the ref did see it and waved play on with the player writhing in agony in the Pools box. Once the game did stop and he was attended to he attempted to carry on without going off much to the chagrin of the faithful. 

Second half Pools stepped it up a bit, and Solano, making good use of the free kicks, almost sent in a ball that Lidds and Nish combined to hit wide of the mark. Sweeney also headed his effort wide as Pools piled on the pressure. Monky blasted a shot in that came back off the post and Horwood saw his effort bounce off the bar but that was the nearest Pools got to getting an equaliser before the Wendies closed the game down and were content to stroke the ball around and play out the game. Even Ned went up for one corner hoping to emulate last season's scoring spectacular. 

The Wendies could have made it two when their striker raced through unchallenged, took it wide of Ned - and shot past the empty net. The 6800 gate was good to see, but once again the theorists talking of Pools never performing in front of a big crowd had their pennorth. On the day they were just too good for us. I just went home to dream that one day we would stuff the Wendies and found that the tide had come up after all.