RUNNING MONKEY on a special occasion with a familiar result

Who was it that said, “A week in politics is a long time?” (*) Well a week in football is even longer especially over a Christmastide. 

A week since the last home defeat seems like a distant memory. A lot can happen in a week. A football club could print its programme in readiness for the game in advance and risk that they would not have any mention of the new incumbent in the manager's chair. One of the club's favourite sons could pass away and the messiah could return. Sounds like a lot of work for a week so I must have lost a few days over the Christmas period. 

I am not a lover of this new minute's clapping before games when ex players who have passed on are shown respect by the home crowd. When I saw Mrs Johnson start to clap I got the impression I should join in. As ever with these things you get one clown who has to have his voice heard above all others. A man who was old enough to know better but probably had a tincture or three decided to ball out at the top of his guttural voice,just as the silence started” nice one Kenny” WHY?
"as he shook hands with us he did say “I could be the hero at Christmas and the villain at Easter."

Once the teams were announced and the officials and the respect were shown the messiah did appear. Looking like he had just walked out of the door and came straight back, a fit looking Neale Cooper made his entrance. Some of the crowd were still in bah humbug mode before the game with the usual comment you should never come back but I think the Neale Cooper will become a winner again and give Pools the obvious lift the club needs. The rapturous applause as he took to the stage and acknowledged the faithful in my book is justified. 

Just before the game I was talking to a friend of mine in the club car park and the Chairman was parking his car. My mate Dave was never a shy lad and took the opportunity to congratulate him on his choice of manager, and as he shook hands with us he did say “I could be the hero at Christmas and the villain at Easter." Lets hope it is not the latter. 

So onto the game, we know the recent history between Scunny and ourselves and it is not pretty. Knocked out of the cup by them and a win down their place and both teams struggling. Last win for them was in October and our last win at home was September, I decided to change all that by taking my new Christmas box to the game, My wonderful daughter had bought me a retro blue 'n white football wooden rattle but I promised I would only use it when we score so it could last a long time. 

Scunny looked a bit apprehensive early doors and three straight clearances went over the Clarence Road stand and onto the railway. We looked up for it for about ten minutes and they started to play football. It looked as if Pools were content to just dump the ball. I swear Luscombe passed back to Ned forty seven times in the first half. Aussie was no better, wonder why Hibs or some other Scottish outfit are watching him, Just maybe that is affecting his game. I just do not like Liddle in the back four, he is suspect. With the injuries we have to Sam and Wright, needs must. One bright star of the afternoon was young Luke James, given a start. Whether it was a Cooperism or not, it was a great choice as for me the lad was man of the match. 

I did hear before the game that Poole was pronouncing himself fit but Micky Barron had ruled it out,. Later I saw Poole struggling to get up the steps of the stand, so maybe the Rochdale game might be too soon for him too. 

We struggled in the first half, Ned pulling off two great saves one of which should have been scored by the full back who slipped past Liddle with ease. A couple of chances from Boyd who turned on the half way line and tried to chip the keeper from long range but was well wide of the mark. The next attack, again aided by slack marking, they cut down the left, a quick cross into the box and the ball was stroked past Ned for the opener. We were even worse after the goal and most praying for half time to come, and that was just the players. 

After the break there was a bit more urgency by Pools. Bodyie had probably the best of the chances but no chance of getting the rattle out as his effort was blocked, but at least he was shooting. The mis-firing Boyd was hooked and Brownie came on and things changed dramatically. Young James, who was again very impressive down the left, made a great run, beat his fullback and sent a lovely ball to the back post, where Brownie connected and tried to adjust as he was running out of space, headed the ball down but it was inches wide of drawing level. 

Solano came on for Luscombe and he was spraying quality balls all over the pitch, and the pressure was mounting on the Scunthorpe goal. But they still looked dangerous on the break, at one spell they had three unchallenged shots that were beaten away more by good fortune than good defending. Again we were undone by poor defending after a Pools throw into the opposition box. It was cleared easily and what was more shocking, Hartley failed to make a tackle and Liddle again was by-passed to give Scunny a two nil lead. 

Monky had a glorious chance six yards out,  the ball dropped for him and he wound it up and laced it over the bar. A few minutes later it was rattle out time and Monky in exactly the same position ended the home drought with a spectacular volley to make it 1-2, and despite some pressure from Pools and a lot of time wasting by them it ended that way. 

So whether it was the Cooper factor as we have made comebacks before under the messiah, or the rattle only time will tell.

* Harold Wilson said it.