RUNNING MONKEY sees Pools get a point

Pools 2  - Shrewsbury 2

A home game after a thrashing is a very strange place to feel elation. Yet today we had two reasons to celebrate

 No 1. The substitute ref for today’s game was non other than Mr Boyeson, the much maligned official that has history with us that generates a lot of angst amongst the faithful, so much so that we were taking odds on which Hartlepool player would fall foul of his red card before the end of the day. Apart from a fair few poor decisions and a couple of cards he managed to get through the game without adding to his tally of war crimes committed against the Pool.

No2. was not so demanding, The fact that Mr Radio Tees himself was giving full commentary on the game as the Smoggies had played last night. I was tempted to go back home just so I could listen to Ali Brownlee.

Three changes from the side that was thrashed at PNE saw Aussie, Monky and Walton all dropped for the game but all three options on the bench. My mate Ken is a deep thinker on the subject of Pools and commented on the fact that last season Aussie played every minute of every game and this season after only eight games he has been injured, banned and dropped. "Why?", we ask ourselves. 

One thing that is noticeable is how many of the players are running out of steam late in the game. Ok you can excuse the older players but not the younger set who seem to pick up niggling little injuries. Have our team's preparations for games been altered at all during the closed season. Answers please on an unclaimed lottery ticket to the editor.
"Mr Radio Tees himself was giving full commentary on the game as the Smoggies had played last night. I was tempted to go back home just so I could listen to Ali Brownlee"

A loud shrill on the whistle signalled the start of the game, and I thought at the time, Boyeson would have to have a whistle louder than anyone else as he likes to be noticed. I must say that he had probably his best game at the Vic in a long time - simply because we finished with a full team - but that does not excuse his willingness to antagonise the locals. Poole was the first to try his luck but hit the keeper with his shot.

 Ken and I were debating the time Pools were taking to get a cross in, when you see players continually laying the ball back then taking it again and laying it back it gets a bit frustrating and I was just about to tell Ken the benefits of this type of play when up pops Franks with a classic across-the-goalmouth shot that hit the side netting, putting him leading top scorer with two. Shrews came straight back at us with their long ball tactics, which we often copied throughout the game but as I said to Ken "it's ok, as they started it". 

A great diving save by Ned was knocked back into the net but thankfully the flag was up for the attacker stood on the back stick when the first shot came in. Murray was not having his best half and gave the ball away too easily when a little patience was needed, but you have to give him his due - if he makes a mistake he really puts himself about to right his wrong. Younger players please take note. 

A free kick on the edge of the box gave Shrews a chance and they bundled the ball into the net squaring the game up. Just before the break Murray made a diagonal run across the pitch and laid the ball up for Howard who tested the keeper who had to push the ball on top of the net, but Howard had been ruled offside again. At the other end Ned made a fantastic save from a free kick right on half time. It had been an interesting half with a draw being about the right result.

Shrews came out second half full of running and were making good inroads down the Milhouse side and Hartley was working overtime keeping them at bay. Pools finally started to up the pressure and were having a great spell but despite all the pressure lacked that final ball. Murray and Poole both tested the keeper. Poole, getting the ball caught under his feet in an almighty scramble in the box just could not get a foot in to stab home his shot. Lynch had a great effort blocked by the massed ranks as Shrews were under pressure. 

Luke James came on for Poole and showed some real pace. It beats me as to why Coops does not start with Luke. He seems to be more of a threat than Poole when he comes on, although Poole had a decent game today. We had a nightmare moment about ten minutes from time as Pools, attacking in numbers, found Franks open in the box and in that position both Ken and I agreed we would have slotted home a goal or at least tested the keeper, although I differed slightly from Ken's shot direct. I would have dragged the ball back and placed it wide of the keeper. 

We were still discussing this move when they scored. Franks dithered and tried to hoist the ball to the waiting Howard who nodded it down to Luke who could only touch the ball up in the air and the break away was on for the Shrews and disgruntled Poolies were heading for the gate. 

Monky came off the bench and promptly hit a superb volley into the net. A well taken goal to mark the five thousandth goal for Pools to give us a well deserved point and probably ease pressure on Cooper after last week.