Showing posts from September, 2012
Carlisle - As I seen it!


Pools 1 Carlisle 2   Saturday September 8th

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at Victoria Park


I needed a good stiff drink before I could put put quill to parchment for this one. So I had two tea bags in my cup and cut down on the milk.

You always think that when a former player returns you have that dread that they will score a match winning screamer, but come on - this was Mattie Robson. Or as he is now known Matthew Robson, ex fullback of this parish. Once again the weather gods looked favourably on the Vic as we were bathed in sunshine and and a decent crowd to boot.

Ken and I were still debating a Howard dive when the ref produced his first card on 2 mins and seventeen seconds. Ok Ken says as, long as it is in our favour. At that moment it hit me like a bullet. The usual play-by-the-book Ken was as bent as a five bob note. My guess is time is catching up on Ken and he is tired of waiting for the Utopian football he dreams of, where all players are gentlemen and shake hands after every tackle, and the last thing on their minds is to cheat the opposition to gain an advantage. 

Ken has now woken from his slumber, smelled the coffee and joined the rank and file punters, who just for once want a homer of a ref who is so biased towards us we can write the score before kick off. Anyway, I stick to my gentlemanly convictions and swear it was a dive and we got a slight advantage from it. Shortly after there was a disgusting tackle on Poole on the far touch line that had me wondering about the parentage of not just the player but the lino and the ref who should have sent off the perpetrator. 

Pools were really putting some pressure on the visitors as we settled early and played some good football. Murray spraying the ball about, Sweeney making some good runs down the middle and chasing balls out wide, and Monky once again looks like he has an appetite for the game. Ex Evertonian Danny Cademarteri and Jon Paul McGovern looked to be the threat for Carlisle but the Pools defence looked well in command. Hartley was playing superbly in the heart of the defence, shutting out any threat from their strikers. 

It was not all one way and occasionally the visitors did manage to get the final ball right and one chance was flapped at by Ned who was straight back on his feet to block the second shot. Paul Murray sent a speculative shot in which had their keeper scurrying along his line to push it wide. Monky, Howard and Poole all tested the keeper but he did well to keep us at bay. Monky lost a ball just in our half and in a flash Ned was diving low to block a shot. Cademarteri turned Hartley in our box and took a lovely ball that fortunately he blasted over the top. 
"Just what does Steve Howard have to do to get a goal?"

Pools were playing the better football at this stage and Poole latched onto a Howard ball and blasted one just inside of the far post from a good angle. Pools one up. Ned was in action just before the break when he tried a punch that he did not get a full hand on, but again was up in a flash to block the second shot. He is showing some good form. 

The miss of the day came early in the second half when the on-loan striker Jervis ran onto a Murray back pass and rounded Ned then managed to hit the top of the Rink End stand with an open goal in front of him. The visitors stepped up their effort and Pools were hard pressed to keep them out. Franks had a header at goal but was too far out for it to bother the keeper and Monky rampaging down the Millhouse side cut into the box and hit a rasping shot the keeper blocked, which fell again for Monky and his shot was saved by the keeper. The visitors had a goal ruled out after a foul on Ned but they were getting more of the ball and looked the more threatening of the two sides. 

Just what does Steve Howard have to do to get a goal? He made space for himself at the back post, ghosted away from his marker, and hit a cross from Aussie that bounced off the bar. A foul by Horwood gave them a chance, which they took at the second attempt after a good block by Ned. My guess it was the frustration from that incident that led Aussie into a clash with Matthew Robson, and Aussie getting his marching orders, but we had lost all concentration by this time and were looking ragged. 

We lost Hartley to an ankle injury and Howard went into the centre half position for a while as we sorted out the subs. In his next attack Howard was sandwiched between two players on the edge of the box and brought down. With the Pools players appealing for a free kick, the ref waved play on and once again the prodigal son of a bitch did the business, and slotted a good shot past Ned to take all three points, and the capitulation was complete in a five minute spell.

We really did let this one go too easily after playing some good football, and with a couple of hard away games to come we are going to have to get our finger out, before the slip becomes a slide.


BILLY'S CONTRACT looks at Bishop Auckland 


I have to confess that at the back end of last season I logged on almost on a daily basis to the Darlo Uncovered message board to follow the trials and tribulations of our former rivals. In fairness I felt for many of their fans and had to take my 'dut' off to them with all the ideas and suggestions they put forward to help save their club.

I was particularly taken with one idea - that if you purchased a season ticket, you would be entitled to a free pie at each home game! I must admit I was tempted to buy a ticket myself. What next - their shirts sponsored by Greggs?

Thankfully after all kinds of wheeling and dealing, of a kind that Garry Gibson would have been proud, they survived, albeit at the expense of being relegated to league division number nine. The next mission for Darlo was to find somewhere to play their home games, so they signed up with Shildon Town. A few weeks later they decided Shildon's ground was not good enough for them and decided to relocate to Bishop Auckland's new ground. I am told that this move meant that Darlo had to pay Shildon ten grand compensation for not fulfilling their part of the ground sharing agreement. On top of that, Darlow also failed to register in time their interest in taking part in whatever cups non-league clubs play in, so another valuable source of valuable revenue was lost to them. Who is running this club? The ghost of Vince Barker?
"Thankfully after all kinds of wheeling and dealing, of a kind that Garry Gibson would have been proud, they survived"

Once the club was saved their fans became rather cocky to say the least, showing little or no respect for their league division nine counterparts, giving the impression they are a big fish in a small pond. Something which has not gone down well with rival supporters in this league.They even have the cheek to nickname Spennymoor as' Spendymoor,' owing to the fact that Spenny pay decent wages to attract players.

As I said in the last edition of Monkey Business, In every negative you can find a positive, if you look hard enough (Funnily enough it was a Darlo supporting mate who passed this gem on to me, mind he probably was used to seeing a lot of negatives!)

Darlo relegated to Coats-for-goal-posts League.

Probably will get promoted.
Virtually every match is a derby match.
Furthest away journey - fans will be back home in time for the football results on the teleprinter.
Only the true fans will turn out to watch them no fear of claustrophobia, or that of noise-induced hearing loss due to smaller crowds.
No queuing for pies as season ticket holders will be issued with these as they gain entrance through the turnstiles.
Free Saturdays off due to non-cup involvement.
It will be long and many a day before Darlo get beat off  'Pools again.
So it is not all doom and gloom after all for our friends from the A66, or should that be the A688?


Purely as a conversation piece I was looking to obtain a metal plaque for my new shed. So along with number one son we headed up to The Railway museum at Shildon to see if they had any London underground signage bearing the legend 'Mind The Gap.' Sadly they had everything but. However much to the despair of my offspring I ended up spending a good hour and a half in said railway establishment admiring the various 'lines' they had on display.

As we we were in the area I asked him if he fancied a quick blast up the road to have a look at Bishop Auckland's new ground which was only ten minutes or so down the road. So off we set. We had only just pulled out of the car park of the Railway Museum when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a sign for would you believe it a 'Lorry Museum.'

My lad could not believe it either. 'What, a lorry museum?' came a despairing cry 'A museum full of lorries - I can't believe such a thing exists or that anyone who is in their right mind would want to go look at a load of old lorries. With that I swung my trusty Skoda into the 'Lorry Museums car...or should that be lorry park. Much to the delight of my son however the place had just closed for business for the day. As we resumed our journey to West Auckland I told him not to scoff at visiting museums as one day in all likelihood he would probably be taking his children to visit a Playstation or X Box Museum or something of that ilk.
"I was half expecting sharks to be swimming past the windows and him saying "Ahh, Monkey Hangers, we have been expecting you""

We then pulled into yet another car park, that of Bishops Auckland F.C. We had a quick peek through the fence and from what we saw it looked a tidy set up. As we were driving away a lady approached us and asked if we happened to be Darlow fans giving the once over to their new lodgings. It was at that point we pointed to the logos on our shirts and the stickers in the rear window of the car denoting our affiliation to their rivals from the coast.

With that she told us that she was Bishop's Club Secretary, and asked if we would like a tour of the ground. She then introduced us to her husband, a director of Bishop, who then unlocked the front shutters of the ground to give us access and then gave us a tour of the changing and treatment rooms and took us to their bar area that doubles up as a board room on non match days. He then picked up a remote control unit and pointed it at the window shutters that protected the glass, and which then promptly began to rise. (it was a bit like a James Bond film - I was half expecting sharks to be swimming past the windows and him saying" Ahh, Monkey Hangers, we have been expecting you" - then being ejected down a chute to the finned man eaters ...or should that be Monkey eaters?) Once the shutters were fully retracted this gave us a great view over the ground and playing area.

We spent around an hour talking to them about the Darlow ground share situation and non-league football in general. They virtually viewed 'Pools in the same way most 'Pools fans would view Man. Utd in terms of size and backing.

I must admit I was really so taken by the set up at Bishop and the genuine hospitality extended by our hosts, that as we pulled out of their car park we promised that we would come up for a couple of games during the course of the season long as it did not clash with a 'Pools fixture ...and their car park wasn't full.

On the way home I needed diesel ...well, the Skoda did. I was just about to drive on to the forecourt at Tesco Bishop Auckland (cheapest fuel in the country) when out of the corner of my eye in Tesco's main car park, what should I spy taking place but a vintage bus rally, with several old United double and single deckers on show, which reminded me of the days of my youth and brought a lump into my throat ...
When I think about it, it was probably my son who brought a lump to my throat by thumping it and saying he had seen enough vintage vehicles for one day to last him several lifetimes!

A couple of weeks later I was on the Bishop Auckland bypass, where Bishop's ground is situated, and what did I see parked either side of the road but several gypsies' caravans, both motorised and horse drawn. I thought "here we go, Darlo are on the move." Sod's law, I did not have my camera with me like I usually do, as it would have provided some cracking photographs to accompany this article.

I now know why Darlow are sometimes called Pikeys. Moved out of Feethams. Chased out of the Arena. Shifted from Shildon and now banged up in Bishop.

Darlow - coming to a ground near you. Their new club crest should depict a crystal ball, some unlucky heather and several clothes pegs on it. With the motto underneath reading 'In Scrap We Trust' (or take the 'S' out of the word scrap and then re-read it!)


Just back from the Scunny game, and yes we scored our first goals and picked up our first three points of the season, but the optimism I wrote about in the last edition of Monkey Business has evaporated (hopefully only on a temporary basis).
Walton, my great white hope, is out of sorts and on the bench.
Stevie Howard looked sluggish, but I have heard he is carrying an injury.
We were outplayed by a team who are bottom of the league, and for the last 15 minutes they only had ten men but played like they had twelve.
My main concern is that the football that we played today was not that which I would associate with a team managed by Neale Cooper. Very little football played to feet with the full backs lumping hit-and-hope balls up front for our forwards to latch on to. Not entertaining at all. If this is how we play at home I dread to think what our away performances are like to watch, but judging by the results - Not Good.
The only bright spot for me was Scunny's Kit, which I thought looked absolute class.

KIWI KEN tells us about being a Poolie in New Zealand

Been awhile since being a MB contributor, not a problem when I was in the Great Smoke but being on the other part of the world here in NZ it sort of makes life a bit difficult to put down a few comments or even string a story together regarding the lads.

So I will just waffle and give a brief rundown, not a missive about life outside of the real H’pool team.

When I landed here 2003 I noticed all these amazing car number plates… thinks... so how to go about it? I eventually found the web site that allows you to do the necessaries ( for any out there that fancy a bit of fun). I looked for MERVYN but some bugger had it (I recently checked and note it is up for grabs now at NZ $2,500, about £1,250) so my next obvious choice was HANGUS. Yeahh!! and I have carried it from car to car since, with a bit of subtle advertising. It now sits on the mid-life crisis motor, a Nissan Skyline Coupe 350GT (V35), 280 bhp, and thirsty as hell.

It is a beast, but great for overtaking, especially on these NZ roads where we ain't even got dual carriageways outside of cities, (100k people to be classed as a city), just the odd overtaking lane and loads of creepy crawly drivers. NZ drivers have to be some of the worst drivers in the world, but then that’s another story."...imagine a country consisting of two islands about the size of UK with 4.2 million people and only one football team!"

So what do I waffle on about, well it’s gotta be football, but not football as you might know it. Close your eyes and… open them and imagine a country consisting of two islands about the size of UK with 4.2 million people and only one football team!!! You read right, only one football team. Loads of Sunday kick-abouts but only one league team.They are known as the Wellington Phoenix and are based in - would you believe - Wellington, and their ground is called the Caketin (Westpac Stadium).

The team was resurrected by a guy named Terry Serepisos in 2007 after the NZ Knights collapsed in 2006/7, hence the name. Stories within stories, everyone knows of Alan Sugar with the Apprentice, well Tel boy did a NZ equivalent a few years ago. However far from being the successful entrepreneur Al was, Tel ended up owing the tax man millions and he was eventually bought out last year thus ensuring The Phoenix survived yet another period. See, Pools are not the only ones with tales of woe.

They are my team of choice, if you can call it choice, and they play in the A-League which is Oz land based. 10 teams are in the A-League and the Phoenix end-of-season average position ends up about 4/5. No famous players as such, although we had Chris Greenacre, (ex-Tranmere) last season and currently Paul Ifill of Millwall, Sheffield U. and Palace fame - Mr Twisty Face, the lazy bugger, but he can score on the odd occasion, very popular over here. Then a couple of years back we nearly got Joel Porter when he left Pools.

The fans are called the Yellow Fever and can make a bit of a noise (Kiwis here really do not know how to support en masse not even rugger!!!) but the Fever don’t do a bad job. They are famous for taking their tops off if they are in the lead at 80 mins, women in their bras can’t be bad, well most of them!!! You thought Torquay was a bad away match to get to, imagine having to fly to Australia, bit of a bugger eh!

The season officially starts Oct 6th and we start off at home to Sydney. Friendlies, as a pre-season build up... well we played the Newcastle Jets recently and got beat 3-1 away after being one up. Their player kicked the crap out of our player and got sent off, so the ref decided to send two of ours off to balance things up half way through the first half. Then in the second half he decided to send off the captain, neat. Eight against ten, bit of a struggle. This was a friendly. Now the weird part, we are now off to India to play another four friendlies. Bloody India, and you thought Holland was bad… Ricky Herbert is the manager (he was the one to get us into the last World Cup), and all the matches/teams are shown live on TV once a week, home and away,  which is nothing to grumble about.

My Poolie fix has to be all the evening kick off matches (nine as it stands now, plus one after the Orient thing) when I can listen live in the morning here on Pools World (11hours difference). I am a diehard but getting up in the middle of the night is pushing it a bit. I ain't got the nonce to work out how to record the matches in the middle of the night so as I can get up and listen to them first thing Sunday morning before reading the results. Does anyone out there has any helpful advice?

I reckon if the lads ain't lost their way too much by the end of October (some tough matches) we could be in with a steady season, however with a 0-0 and a 2-0 start to the season, I would say the Orient match was a good result. The lads just don’t seem to have the same big heart as Cooperman, and all the early season hype ain't happened. Is there some stuff going on behind closed doors that us ex-pats don’t get to know about?

Change of tack, I saw Stevie Howard at Luton when he left Pools (remember those days) and he was a changed man, not a carthorse anymore, he didn’t need the full length of the pitch to get into top speed and he was like a leaping salmon, head and shoulders above our lot. Just hope he can bring that back, it was awesome to watch. Where is Stevie's link-up gonna come from, or is it the thump the ball up the field and hope format? Come on lads, give the supporters summat to get excited about. I paid my dues to Pools World but am buggered if I am going watch other teams beat us, I want me money’s worth.

KT POOLIE gives his thoughts

It happens nowhere else, but it seems there is no halting the amounts of money football club owners and managers are prepared to throw around in football’s twice-yearly artificial spending-periods called the transfer market. 

Strangely, the first cut-off is the end of August, a couple of weeks after the season starts! This year the deadline was preceded by the first managerial casualty as Andy Thorn was stripped of his role at Coventry after failing to register a win in the first three games of the season. Yet, neither had they suffered a defeat.

I know nothing about Thorn, other than he was the man at the helm during last season’s relegation; he survived to build a team for the League One campaign; and was sacked just in time to leave an incoming manager unable to change the squad before the next contrived transfer window in January. Madness."he... was sacked just in time to leave an incoming manager unable to change the squad before the next contrived transfer window"

Players too are placed under pressure, which must partly explain the increasing use of agents to handle the often complex negotiations and deadlines. And it’s not just the Premier League mega-waged clowns who sometimes make the wrong move as the transfer clock counts down. I heard recently of a player move which went horribly wrong for one local team who wish to remain anonymous.

The club’s scouting system identifies an International star who, as he is unable to play in his war-torn Syria, receives a favourable offer from the giants of Northern League Division One.

A contract is swiftly drafted and signed to prevent anyone else snapping up the prodigious talent. Arriving too late to train fully, he finds himself on the bench at Bishop Auckland for the season opener. With a few minutes remaining the manager gives him his first run-out.

The ninth tier of English football has never seen anything like it! He is outstanding, beating players for fun, spraying inch-perfect balls to team-mates at will, tackling like a demon. To top a man-of-the-match performance, he scores a 7 minute hat-trick, two of which come in extra time.

The manager and nearly 50 fans are ecstatic. The cheers and back-slapping continue in the dressing room for almost a minute after the game. Desperate to share the joy with his family he dashes to the ‘phone box at the corner of the street, only to return 5 minutes later in floods of tears.

His manager is concerned, “What’s up lad? Did you tell them how well you played and about the debut hat-trick?”

“Yes, boss”, he replies, “it’s just that they’ve had a terrible day at home. My dad was mugged trying to find a job, my sister was attacked in the market, the family car was stolen from the street and the house was burnt down in a random attack.”

“What’s worse, they blame me for bringing them to Darlington in the first place!”

BILL THE BIRO on the Orient business

My drinking mate asked me if I would be going to Orient the following day. I told him I wouldn't.

In previous seasons he wouldn't have needed to ask, because he knew that I would usually go to any Pools Saturday match within 100 miles of where I live. But as usual, it takes a few weeks of a new season for the football mentality to kick back in with me - especially when the pre-season omens (followed by the first few matches) aren't inspiring. And with the Olympics having just finished, who could get inspired by third-level footy anyway?

So it was that I found myself shopping in town just before 3 o'clock, smart-phone in hand, being a nuisance to pedestrians, as the strange story unfolded. Pools match would be delayed because they were stuck on the M11... the match would now start at 4... the match is postponed.

The irony was that Pools had stayed overnight near the M25, not risking any holdups on the long jaunt down the M1, so it was only the 'home straight' that caught them out."I set off once more for MK, assuming that there was little chance of Warwick races coinciding with the match again. Wrong!"

This all reminded me of my days selling the old printed Monkey Business, when I would set myself a deadline of being at the ground an hour before kickoff, in order to catch as many Poolies as possible. That meant adding an extra hour to allow for the traffic on longer trips like Brisbane Road, or whatever it's called now. Yet I don't remember too many problems anywhere with that strategy. Certainly there were holdups, but the planned buffer always allowed for them. There were occasional interface problems when a bag of magazines for me to sell had been sent from Hartlepool with a (usually arm-twisted) volunteer, but that's a different story.

This time buffer meant I was hardly ever late for a match, but the two I came closest on were both at the same venue, and in consecutive seasons. MK Dons were still playing at the National Hockey Stadium at the time. This is one of my local matches, at a mere 64 miles, so I didn't worry too much about allowing for the traffic. Unfortunately, I'd never experienced the traffic chaos that is caused when there's a race meeting at Warwick. I lost an hour in it, meaning that I arrived at the Milton Keynes ground almost at kickoff time, unable to sell a single Bizz.

Moving on a season, I set off once more for MK, assuming that there was little chance of Warwick Races coinciding with the match again. Wrong! Again I arrived just in time for the kickoff. Just goes to show you should never assume, and if your arrival time is critical, you should check the traffic situation before setting off.

I'm not sure what I conclude from all this, except that in the above MK example the only loss was the sale of perhaps half a dozen fanzines, whereas at Orient thousands of people were inconvenienced, many having shelled out a lot of money on travel. Perhaps making teams stay at hotels within walking distance of the ground is a bit much, or allowing three times the normal travelling time for the final leg of their trip, but it seems bizarre that a team stays overnight fairly close to an away venue, yet still misses the match.

GREAT GRANDAD SHOUTY on the season so far

Won 1, Drawn 1 and Lost 1. Goals for 2 Goals Against 2. I suppose most of us would have settled for that before the season started. Swindon’s wins against MK Dons and Stoke City perhaps brings things into perspective. 

We put in a gutsy performance against Swindon - a very good side - and coming on the back of the 5-0 drubbing against Crewe in the Thingmy Cup, anything would have been acceptable. (I’ve not given the League Cup its proper name as I’m allergic to banks.)
Against Swindon, the defence coped very well with what Swindon threw at us. I suppose we could count ourselves fortunate when Tommy Miller’s penalty nearly finished up in the Hartlepool Water offices but justice was done overall. We didn’t deserve to lose. However, the main downside against Swindon was the lack of support for Steve Howard up front. I’ve not seen anyone dominate proceedings in the air for such a long time but there was no one around to take advantage of his mastery of the long balls. I’ve always thought that Luke James is the one most likely to take advantage of Howard’s superiority in the air and I’d like to see him start, possibly at the expense of James Poole."I’ve not given the League Cup its proper name as I’m allergic to banks"

The Scunthorpe game was perhaps a case of frayed nerves time. Let’s be honest, Scunthorpe created chances and perhaps could have come away with a point. Had the penalty been scored, that would have made it 3-0 and we were certainly not worthy of that kind of margin. We tended to lose too many balls in midfield and so create chances for Scunthorpe. A better side would have taken us to the cleaners. Fortunately, the last line of defence was at its most reliable and Scott Flinders is certainly proving his worth. As someone from the town End put it after the match - “Scunthorpe were a crap side - and Pools weren’t much better”. At least, the Scunthorpe result will have bred some confidence in the side - let’s build on it. Still, the first two home games epitomise what I’ve said before. We put in a creditable performance against the good side and huffed and puffed against the side below us.

The postponement of the game against Orient was, of course, particularly sad, given the circumstances of the traffic delays. Obviously, everybody lost out - Pools (because of their travelling expenses and the overnight stay at the hotel), Pools’ supporters (because of the expense in getting down to London) and Orient (who would have brought in all those meat pies and hot dogs that couldn’t be eaten). In special circumstances, some clubs have provided free transport for their travelling supporters - perhaps Pools could dig deep for when the game is rescheduled.

Looking further afield, its interesting to see that the early pacesetters are Tranmere and Yeovil; equally surprising is to see that Preston and Coventry are worse off than Pools. Hopefully, the away game at Coventry is one of the games I’d like to see. And they’ve started off in style by sacking their manager after only three games. 

Coventry’s ground was, of course, used in the Olympics and one match at the City of Coventry Stadium was the women’s bronze medal match between Canada and France. Canada just about edged the first half but in the second half it was all France, France, France ...I’ve never known a side so dominant as the French were - they did everything but score. Then came the nightmare scenario for the Frogs - Canada nicked it in added time. Just about every French player sank to the turf; they couldn’t believe that the Canadians had deprived them of the bronze medal. (Canada, of course, put the GB women out of the tournament by beating them 2-0 in the quarter finals) As a reward, Christine Sinclair was chosen to carry the Canadian flag at the close of the Olympics for her exploits in scoring a record six goals. Possibly Canada should have been in the final but for some dodgy refereeing decisions against the USA (aka Canada’s Noisy Neighbours). 

Still, none of the women took their shirts off in the final - Sepp Blatter’s not getting any younger, is he? And what about the GB men? It was perhaps written down in the good book that they’d go out to a penalty shoot -out. Some things never change, do they?

It was a pity that the Olympics hadn’t been held in the last two weeks of the transfer window. I have to admit that I dread the last two weeks in August as grown men tend to act like little boys who are getting their first train set on Christmas morning. Who the hell’s interested in overseas players you’ve never heard of signing for clubs in the bog standard Premier League? I’m certainly not and it becomes a complete pain in the butt when you keep getting told how many hours, minutes and seconds to go before the deadline. The amount of money lashed out by some clubs was unbelievable. Is there a recession or isn’t there? Whilst clubs like Pools have to count their pennies, clubs in the bog standard Premier League seem to have printing presses which enable them to spend, spend and spend. I have a sense of foreboding about all this. I was reading some time ago in the press that spectators in the Premier League are mainly in the older age bracket; in other words, they are not attracting younger spectators. Still, all they’re bothered about is television and I am waiting for BT to bombard me with details of their Premier League games. My reply to them will be the same as the cable companies - sod off. One thing about Pools (and other smaller clubs) is that there‘s a good following across the age range. Young, middle aged and old geezers like me. Long may this continue...

Some pics of Poolies on their travels

Pools had a little bit of extra luck in the 2-0 win over bottom club Scunthorpe. A visit by the South East Poolies (left picture, l to r Graham Allen, Stu Miller, and Leigh Allen) ensured that Pools would be victorious in their third league game of the season. The last time this group saw Pools lose at home was against the Wendies last season, and we all know we were robbed in that game.

On the right is forner Bizz editor Lol Moran who, when he went to Avignon, insisted on putting on a Pools shirt and fulfilling the words of the famous French song about its bridge: "Sur le pont d'Avignon, l'on y danse, l'on y danse". Sadly that doesn't look much like dancing to us (more like standing on one leg), and technically he's in the wrong place anyway, because the song originally was "Sous le pont d'Avignon"  and not "Sur le pont....", so Lol should have actually been underneath the bridge.

RUNNING MONKEY sees the first win of the season

A nice day for footy and a reasonable crowd of 3863 in the Vic today for the visit of the current bottom club Scunthorpe who have shipped a few goals already this season. A good chance for Pools to turn the corner and hopefully our strikers to get the chance to fill their boots.

In the early stages it was obvious that their keeper looked a bit shaky when he dropped the ball from the first Pools corner and my mate Ken said we should be testing him more than we were. It was end-to-end stuff with both teams not able to get the final ball right. Horwood was just wide of the mark with a good strike from a free kick as Pools stepped up the pace.

Scunny were playing good football and the left-winger was finding a lot of space out wide and they were fast on the break. Some slack defending from Pools let Scunny in with a chance but the ball was collected easy by Flinders. Hartley was on his feet bawling at his midfield after he made a superb tackle in our box to rob an attacker who had been given too much time and space down the right. Flinders was scrambling at the back post from the next attack but the ball ran wide for a goal kick.

" Hartley was on his feet bawling at his midfield after he made a superb tackle in our box to rob an attacker who had been given too much time and space down the right." Howard had a shot on the turn but the keeper was equal to it. The goal we deserved came as Sweeney tested the keeper and then Franks made a great run  to connect with a Horwood cross and blast the ball into the net past the Scunthorpe keeper. Sweeney forced a corner late in the half that Scunny cleared and they stepped up their game looking for an equaliser. Once again the game became end to end stuff as the Scunny were coming back into the game, and a bad pass by Aussie saw Scunny with a clear run into the box and a shot smashed against the Pools bar and the rebound was mis-hit as the first half came to an end.

Scunny came out with more purpose at the start of this half as Pools got a bit sloppy and Flinders made a great save pushing the ball over the bar from a rasping long range Scunny shot. Sweeney matched the Scunny striker with a long-range blast of his own that won Pools a corner, which was cleared. Cooper made changes as the game became bogged down and Luke James made a big difference to the Pools attack.

Horwood was cynically chopped down as the frustration grew in the Scunny side. Flinders flapped at a high ball, but fortunately Scunny hit it over the bar. A great flick on by Howard set up Luke James but he was bundled to the ground with nothing given by the ref. Scunny were pressing now and piling in the crosses and breaking fast when they got the ball. A great run down the wing by Franks saw him chip the ball into the centre but it landed on top of the net.

A header by Howard found Monky clear but his shot went wide. Franks went down with a knee injury and was replaced by Holden. Sweeney thought he had scored with a header over the keeper but the defender handled on the line and was promptly dismissed. Howard took the penalty but the keeper read it right and palmed the ball away. Monky who was M O M did some great work down the wing and sent in a perfect ball for Luke James to calmly slot the ball past the keeper for a two goal lead.

Three points to Pools but we will have to step up a bit next week when Carlisle are the visitors.
The Sweeney