Crewe - As I seen it!


Crewe Alexandra 2 Pools 1   Saturday  6th October 2012

Match report by POOLIE IN NOTTINGHAM at Gresty Road


 Despite Pools being in dismal form, I was quite looking forward to a visit to Gresty Road. 
Although Pools had lost at home to Sheffield United, the performance didn't warrant a defeat, so if the corner was to be turned, where better place to avenge the 5-0 drubbing in the League Cup a couple of months ago?

It was a beautiful, clear day autumn as me and Ewan drove to Derby to Andy Ramalamadingdong's house. Heading west along the A50, some clouds appeared, but it wasn't enough to spoil our fun day out. Yet.

Crewe is one of the few remaining enjoyable away fixtures at this level. Gresty Road is a proper old ground, all unsymmetrical with higgledy piggledy stands. It is next door to the train station, there are plenty of pubs nearby, and parking isn't an issue. 

We pulled up round the corner a couple of minutes walk away. As we neared the train station, two worse-for-wear gadgies in Stoke City tops staggered around the pavement and road, dodging other pedestrians and traffic. One of them leaned against the wall and began spewing profusely, much to Ewan's delight. At four years old, the only time he had previously seen anyone borking up was when they had eaten too many kets and fairy cakes at a party, so the sight of a fully grown man producing a large pavement pizza was the high point of his day.

The vomiting hero mumbled an apology as we passed, and before we knew it we were near the ground. Crewe is one of those grounds at which you have to buy a ticket from the office first before you go through the turnstile, which is something which gets right on my tits. In this case it wasn't too bad as there weren't many Poolies in attendance, but I have been to many games where this logistical process has caused huge queues.

Tickets in hand, we passed through a knot of stewards keeping an eye out for workie-tickets, and in through the turnstiles. The away end at Gresty Road should really be called the 'away side', as it runs along the side of the pitch rather than behind a goal.

The sun was still shining brightly, so we took our seats to bask in the front row where Ewan could get a great view of the action. It was the first time I had seen Pools in the smart new dark blue away kit, and I have to say it looks ace. I'll promise to be a good lad and hopefully Santa will leave one under the tree for me.

"...the Crewe striker sent the ball into orbit, well over the bar, and I think over the roof of the stand behind the goal. I had the idea that it landed in an empty train wagon passing on the tracks behind the stadium, and would arrive in Glasgow before the final whistle."
Pools started off brightly, and even the early loss of Andy Monkhouse to injury didn't dampen the spirits. Evan Horwood proved to be a capable replacement, scoring after some great movement when he'd barely been on the pitch a couple of minutes.

Pools being Pools, it was never going to be plain sailing, and Crewe soon had the chance to level from the penalty spot after a harsh handball decision. Thankfully the Crewe striker sent the ball into orbit, well over the bar, and I think over the roof of the stand behind the goal. I had the idea that it landed in an empty train wagon passing on the tracks behind the stadium, and would arrive in Glasgow before the final whistle. We still went into the break after being pegged back though, an absolute pearler of a curler which Flinders wouldn't have stopped in a hundred attempts.

Pools huffed and puffed in the second half, Ryan Noble in particular putting himself about. It was Crewe that found the winner though, and thankfully I missed it. Ewan was touching cloth for most of the game, so it was whilst he sat dunging away that we heard the loud cheer signalling the home goal. This was confirmed by an extraordinarily loud speaker on the bog wall, that nearly caused me to move my bowels. On flushing the toilet I noticed a pair of heavily skidded Calvin Kleins discarded in the corner. They looked as if they had been there for some time, otherwise I would have speculated as to which Poolie had been forced to go commando.

Pools created more than enough chances to equalise, but a combination of bad luck, good goalkeeping and poor finishing meant another undeserved defeat. There were plenty of positives to come from the match - Jack Baldwin in particular really looks the part in the centre of defence, and will be very hard done to if he loses his place. Darren Holden seems determined to make himself a regular in the left back slot, and on this performance is in with a good shout. Noble looks to be the right sort of striker to partner Howard, and hopefully he will bang a few in whilst on loan.

However, unless some of the current squad pull their fingers out and play to their potential, it looks like a long, hard, grinding season ahead. I'd be over the moon with another year of mid-table obscurity, but I don't think it will happen. My prediction is for Pools to finish fourth bottom, nine points behind Portsmouth, who somehow avoid having the mandatory 10 point deduction for going into administration.