Bury - As I seen it!


Pools 2 - Bury 0   Saturday April 6th

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at The Vic


This was called the make or break game as far as Pools fans were concerned after another slump of eight games without any success whatsoever - even the die hard fans like my mate Ken were planning trips to Accrington and Torquay next season. 

On paper it looked like curtains for Pools for sometime now, after the jubilation of the never-say-die mini revival we had way back in October at the Wendies, when we spoiled their party. Whatever happens, this season was lost a long time ago and if we are granted a miracle then we need to take a long hard look our situation

Everyone and his dog will have a solution and a list of who to dump, who to keep, and what targets we should be looking at. All the plans of fans mean absolutely nothing, and speaking to one or two old faithful today most of them seem to have the impression that the owners have little faith in HUFC and get the impression they are winding down their operation. 

Manager Mr Hughes has reportedly shelved plans to meet the bosses, and concentrate on the last four games of the season, especially today’s game with fellow-strugglers Bury, who at lunchtime were one point above Pools. 

Speaking of bosses, the Town End had a special visitor today. Making his debut home game was none other that the CEO of Monkey Business, Mr Laurence St John Moran, who  decided to pay us an un-announced visit, and take in his first home game of the season. To be fair, he had done Coventry away so we all know who to blame for that one. After the usual pleasantries and introductions and what seemed an age to give the CEO the run down on the side and to tell him names of the unfamiliar Pools players, we settled down to be entertained.
"It was nice to see the team that was suffering today was not Pools"
A fine sunny day at the Vic if not just a tinge of winter left in the wind, but all in all a good day for footy. The game was a little end to end as both teams realised this was the big one and three points could mean so much in a couple of weeks time. Efe Sodje went close with a miss hit that spun the ball onto their bar and as our luck had ran out a long time ago the ball dropped into his keeper's arms.

Talking of Sodje, Ken reckons he must be forty years old but considering all he had to do in the game was clatter the massive Luke James at every opportunity, then he had an easy day. As you know I never criticise officials but Mr Drysdale was very lenient in the case of Sodje, who was losing headers to the mighty Luke and clattered him in the back of the head with his elbow at every opportunity, and he did not always have the ball when he was clattered

Bury looked dangerous down the wings with us having to play against another Manure mercenary,  Ajose, who was quick and did get the better of Sam on one occasion when he bounced the ball off Sam who cleared it round the post, but sorry son you will never make it in the big city.

Wyke was the first Pools player to go close, but as Ken said (and demonstrated), a striker should always head the ball down in that situation not put it over the stand. Monky was lucky to get away with leaving a foot in on a tackle. Ken and I were just finishing our usual game of stone paper scissors and I was just about to win three on the trot when Monky put the ball into the back of the net, A GOAL! Pools had scored a Goal! We did not know whether to laugh or cry as the official ruled it out for a foul, much to the chagrin of the crowd in the corner of the stand who bay at every decision with blinkered vision.

As it happened there were three fouls all committed by Pools players who did the climbing so it made the choice for Mr Drysdale an easy decision. Monky made amends for his misdemeanour as he forced a flick on by Hartley past the keeper with the Bury players claiming they had cleared it. The ref pointed to the centre circle and this time, yes, Pools had scored a GOAL!! It was so long since we celebrated such an occasion that we were not sure what to do. Looking at the clock it was nearly half time so we decided to wait and make sure and celebrate at half time. 

We did have one thing to cheer when Bury were reduced to ten men after Fagan had fouled Holden right in front of the lino, who then spoke to that nice Mr Drysdale, who then sent Fagan off. Looking back on the half we were really battered by Bury throughout as Sodje in particular grounded Luke at every tackle and the wise old fox was getting away with it time after time. My mate Ken explained that it was size that matters, as Luke was only half the size of Sodje then he should expect to get trampled. 

It was a ploy of the opposition to try and unsettle the kids as Holden, James and Baldwin were all singled out for special treatment. Monky was booked, deservedly so, for launching a two-footed tackle in which he left the ground, but my guess was that he was trying to even things out and he is the only one in the Pools side up to that challenge. 

Just before the break both James and Franks were racing each other to get onto a free ball in the box and they got in each other’s way and Franks played it wide. I was shocked as I was already marking it in my notes - Pools two up, as it was a dead-cert that one of them had struck it home. I saw Mr. Drysdale point for a goal kick, which brought the half to an end. But Pools fans were in raptures. Not only were we one nil up (but two nil on my card) we had hit the bar twice, and missed at least three sitters.

The second half, RH came out for Wyke, who had took a knock, and Sodje was finally booked - and not before time - for a foul on Luke. With Bury being a man short they pushed Sodje up front and it was nice to see Sam clatter him in the back of the head with an elbow, and Sodje soon returned to his defensive role. Bury came at us early in the second half but with some stout defending from the Pools defensive line up, we held firm and looked the better side. 

Again Mr Drysdale courted controversy when a Pools player was pulled for a ball-to-hand situation, and within a minute we were penalised for a similar offence, but this time it was just outside of our box, which we cleared up field. Monky then got his second goal as he met a perfect cross from Franks out wide and gave the keeper no chance. TWO GOALS FOR POOLS -  how long is it since we could say that? 

It was nice to see the team that was suffering today was not Pools. There was one moment in this game when you look back on all the ups and downs of being a Pools fan and you witness just one incident that makes it all worthwhile. Not as you might think a goal but a tackle. This tackle was made by young Baldwin when he sprinted forty yards to cut out a player and nicked the ball off the toe of an attacker and even managed to turn on the dead ball line and clear the ball up field. This incident might not sound like much the way I tell it but it, but it was a privilege to witness such pure class from a kid who, if he stays fit, will really make an impact in this game at the top level. 

This was a great team performance despite what some might say about it being too little too late, it still gives us hope, albeit a slim chance, but on that performance I would not bet against us. 

There were some great performances out there today and for the CEO Ned was in goal Austin and Holden were the full backs, Sam and Hartley the centre halves, ably supported by Baldwin, Monky and Walton in midfield, with Franks, James and Wyke being the forwards.