Donny - As I seen it!


Pools 1 Doncaster Rovers 1  

Saturday  13th October 2012

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at Victoria Park


The visit of another Yorkshire giant to the Vic today brought out another decent crowd for the game. 

The 4600 included a good turn out of Where's Wally lookalikes in their red and white hooped shirts; a shame that half way through the second half they acted like total Wallies and attacked some of Hartlepool’s finest for some unknown reason. I later found out a lady Dons fan had taken  exception to a male Dons fan standing up in front of her in a seated area, and males, like they do, defended the lady’s honour, and they battered each other, also attacking the intervening steward, and a handful were turfed out. 

Before the game, and looking at the form of both teams, we would have taken a point from this game. Not having lost on the road and only losing one at home, the Tykes were obvious favourites. As usual the opposition looked huge, especially the back four.

 Looking down the team sheet I noticed a Shelton Martis, the former life saviour of Darlo in the heart of defence, and I am not biased against Darlo or ex Darlo players, honestly I am not. But this lad is crude, to the point of painful to watch. He would be more suited to one of those other Tyke teams that play with thirteen men per side. 

Early on they looked quite a good side, confident on the ball and slick down the wings, with Billy Paynter and a player by the name of Chris Brown they looked as if we had our hands full. 

Noble, who I am not totally convinced about yet, made a great run on goal but was blocked. In the next attack Howard landed a header on the roof of the net. It was one of those games where lots of effort was made for very little open chances for both teams. Doncaster came very close when a whipped in cross from the left skimmed the head of an attacker and whistled past the back post, any more than a slightly heavier touch and it would have been a goal. 

They looked the busiest team in the first half and we were fortunate to be hanging on nil-all in the half. Martis had a chance that he headed wide. Horwood, who took a knock in the first ten minutes, was struggling and went off just on the half hour mark, being replaced by Poole, who almost scored with his first touch - a shot that struck the bottom of the post, which I thought the keeper had palmed, but a goal kick was given. 

Late in the half Pools were looking more confident. Howard, despite under heavy pressure being man handled by Martis, was still winning headers, and Murray was pushing Pools forward, helped by Holden and Franks, who were making inroads; Holden in particular making some great throws that put pressure on the Dons.

Just before the break Bennett, the pacy and skilful winger, cut across field and hit a sweet shot that just scraped past the far post with Ned scrambling back. 

The start of the second half, and I was all for hanging on for a point, but Pools were a different side, taking the game to Doncaster, and getting more and more success. Howard literally had to wrestle himself clear every time we had a free kick, with Martis being the main culprit. To say he was crude would be a compliment to him. He was struggling to contain Howard and even though just having been warned, both Martis and Jones grappled with Howard and a penalty was given. Not before time, as they had been spoken to at least four times for the same offence in as many minutes, as Pools turned up the pressure. 

Aussie was nominated for the spot kick and he doubled his tally with another perfect spot kick and in truth Pools, were coasting and Donny were showing a lot of angst as things turned in favour of the home team. "Before the game, and looking at the form of both teams, we would have taken a point from this game." Murray, one of the players recalled had a great game. Gone were the errors we witnessed on Tuesday. Murray made a spectacular lob onto the boot of Sweeney, who had made a run into the box, but he was crowded out before he made a shot. Frank,s like his last game, found himself clear in the box from a RH ball and once again he shuffled his way into losing the ball when any kind of a shot would have been better.

Ned, who is in great form, luckily for Pools, once again made a great save palming a speculative shot from Donny over the Rink End stand. The equaliser came from a nothing free kick that the ref Mr Scott gave against Holden after an attacker fell to the ground when Holden said boo to him. A high ball into the box and a scramble ensued with the ball pinging between players and one of them managed to get it over the line before we could clear it.

Once again Pools lost two points at the death after deserving so much more, especially for the second half rally. We took a point from a good side and that is an improvement on current form. Let's hope it is a turnaround in fortunes for Pools, and we finally start to get the rub of the green.