Notts County - As I seen it!


Pools 2 - 1 Notts County   Saturday February 2nd

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at The Vic


First of an apology as you all know I have been possibly the biggest critic of Simon Walton this season. Today he fully deserved the mom award and if only he and the team had played anything near the kind of football we have seen today HUFC would not be in the position we are today. It was good to hear the fans chanting today both during the match and at the end of the game as they left the ground after the win.

It was good to hear the fans chanting today both during the match and at the end of the game as they left the ground after the win. We are winning at home, and we scored a home goal was a treat to the ears. A week is a long time in politics and even longer in football when you have not had a home game for two weeks. 

I remember my notes from the last home game against Bournemouth - I think I went home with about six lines on my jotter. It was impossible to make such an abject performance sound good and even worse to try and add some humour to the event; it was so bad I had no qualms about the powers that be at Bizz HQ consigning it to the skip. 

Today how ever was a totally refreshing and new experience for the battle-weary troops on the terraces at the Vic this season. A new line up today enforced by injuries and I must say what a welcome change, as Pools harried, defended and played some great football. We saw the return of Gary Liddle today who I thought had jumped ship at the right time as the Pools team he was playing in started to plummet. Strange to see Liddle playing at right back but to be honest he was anonymous today, which you could never say about him in a Pools shirt. Well apart from a few of his last games were he just wanted to be away. 

A break away by Walton on five minutes was superb when he won a loose ball in a scramble in our box, skipped past a couple of players and laid the ball into midfield where it was slung out wide to Franks who raced down the right and crossed a great ball under pressure for Poole to take the ball down and hit his effort on the volley into the net. 

It is fair to say we had more shots in the first half than I can remember. The absence of Howard could be a blessing in disguise because this line up made us into a team that could create the chances, a skill that has been so lacking in the recent past. Franks was on fire down the flanks shooting on sight which is all we have ever wanted from him, get in there and have a go rather than get in there and look for another option. 

Hartley was very commanding in the heart of the defence; he made one superb block in the box to parry a goal bound shot and Aussie was at the back post to turn a header away from goal. 

Simon Walton made the tackle of the game racing in and winning a ball taking out two Notts players at once - you would have heard the thud on the banks of the Trent. Half time brought a great cheer for Pools who were applauded off the field by the whole crowd after a scintillating performance. The consensus: "what have they done with the old Pools?" One Town-Ender who must have money to burn was trying to flog his Corals betting slip for twenty pounds. He had stopped off on the way to the game and had took Pools to win 2-1 and Poole to be the first scorer. I hope he takes a similar bet on the next home game. 

Second half and Curle had obviously kicked a few backsides in the dressing room as they really stepped up their game and for twenty minutes the old Pools side had returned and we were looking suspect once again. One criticism of Horwood today was he gave the winger Ryce far too much space and just invited trouble as the dangerous winger could leave both him and Franks for dead with his speed and that is just what he did, he raced into the box beat every challenge and scored a screamer to level things up. 

The winger had shot his bolt then and Baldwin started to take an interest and skinned the winger a few times simply with perfect timing of his challenge. Hartley was booked meaning he will miss the next game. Franks almost scored a second goal for Pools as he raced in and hit a shot at the near post that almost beat the Notts keeper, but a combination of post and body kept the shot out.

"Half time brought a great cheer for Pools who were applauded off the field by the whole crowd after a scintillating performance."
Franks again made a superb cross from a free kick that Hartley rose the highest in the bunch to head the ball in over the line. As I started to write my notes the angry voices were raised as a defender claimed to have cleared the ball before it crossed the line but from ten yards I was in no doubt the ball had crossed the line. The lino on the Millhouse side shot his flag up to signal a goal and the ref agreed with my notes - it was 2-1 to pools and one very happy gambling punter behind me was jumping for joy. 

All was not done as Notts tried to salvage their impressive away tally and Ned made another fine save on the line at the Rink End as Pools started to play the Brazilian way as young Holden flicked the ball off one toe then flicked the ball over the head of the defender and raced in to the box but he was thwarted at the death. 

A crowd of 3662 fans cheered their heroes off the pitch chanted the name of Simon Walton as he was made M.o.M., and for once in a very long time got behind their team. Fickle? Maybe but it is surprising what a difference a brace of back to back wins makes to the fans that have suffered for so long this season. Can we do it? It is a tall order but “NEVER SAY DIE” 

To the powers that be at Monkey mansions, don’t dare bin this one!