RUNNING MONKEY sees Pools play a Giant team

Pools 1 - The Blades 2

As usual one the “big “clubs, despite finding themselves in the wrong division once again, come to little old Hartlepool and expect to turn us over as a matter of course. Maybe I might be a bit hard on the Yorkshire giants who are legends in their own back yard. The one good thing about these visits is they usually fill the away end, and even this early in the season on a wet and windy Tuesday night they almost filled their allocation.

"Riding high but having drawn quite a few" says Ken on their form, but as with all the Giant sides, buying power always tells.

An early chance was gifted to Howard after the Blades' keeper hit the ball straight to him but his snap effort was blocked. It is noticeable in Giants games that early doors they like to make their presence felt and there was a rash of illegal challenges that they could not possibly get away with once the ref turned up. Baldwin Sweeney and Poole were the early recipients of this treatment, which was criminal."As the ref had still not turned up, the pushing and diving continued but our efforts were petering out."

A few of the Blades players could only be classed as divers, and again with the absent ref allowing this to go, it was tedious to watch the triple roll with accompanying scream going unpunished, in fact being rewarded. Kitson was the biggest culprit at conning the ref but maybe we are either too honest or too naive to practise this type of football but both Ken and I agreed we would not be comfortable watching our team cheat their way to success. They were fast on the break and played some sweeping passes but like Pools the final ball was not there. We were making chances and squandering them too so it was even until poor defending allowed Kitson a free header which he took great delight in celebrating with the Town end fans. But he is a ginger so you have to give him a bit of leeway.

Pools landed one on top of the net and another into the side netting. One chance looked as if we had equalised that hit the underside of the bar and had most of the home fans cheering but the ball was scrambled clear. Ned was pulling off some good saves as we started to buckle a little under the pressure as they went for the second goal.

We managed to get to half time and the consensus was, despite their goal, we were playing well enough and could possibly make a game of it, kicking down hill to the Town End. As the ref had still not turned up, the pushing and diving continued but our efforts were petering out. Both Poole, who lost possession darting into the box, and Sweeney could not manage to find the ball under his feet to get a shot off from four yards, left the fans wondering ifs it was ever going to happen.

I watched Poole in the warm up and he was the only player not to beat the second string keeper and his efforts during the game were little better. To be fair it was one of those games when nothing dropped for Pools on the night. We could have had four if only we had that little touch of luck.

The ref at last turned up and duly produced his card to the divers and the cuddlers, booking four of them in the game, albeit a little late, as we thought the damage was done. The wayward official made one of the daftest decisions I have seen even at the Vic, when Monky was fouled but managed to get the ball through and we were in a good attacking position. He blew up and gave a dropped ball on the centre circle.

Pools were pressing now and playing some good stuff, enough to set panic in the Blades' rear guard. Stevie Howard scored his first goal for Pools as he rose at the back post to thump a cracking header past the keeper and take two defenders with him. This was the only time in the game that he escaped the two players he had carried all game, one on his back and one round his waist. The celebration in front of the town end was something special as he clenched his fists and roared at the home fans as they applauded his effort.

Sadly once again we were undone on the break after we had pegged them back looking for a winner. A great effort by Pools but the visitors’ quality was the difference on the day.