England v Sweden

RUNNING MONKEY watches the women at the Vic

An international flavour for this fine sunny afternoon in Hartlepool as England took on Sweden, around five and a half thousand fans in the Vic.

I managed to get a freebie for the CK stand but as we all know football should be viewed from a terrace. So I made my way to my spot on the Town End, that smelt unusually rosy for this time of year. 

The Hartlepool connection was of course THE Jordan Nobbs, daughter of Pools star Keith. In my opinion and those of a few others this kid was the equivalent of Man of the Match, but like a lot of these accolades,they never go to the right person. 

"After the fare we have been watching in the pre-season this was a great game of football."
England, kicking to the Rink End could have been one up in 18 seconds but the ball was scooped over the bar. The next attack they hit the post but the attacker was flagged offside anyway. Twice in a minute the Swedish goalkeeper, who was playing her 100th game, brought off good saves to thwart the England attack.

Shortly afterwards the England keeper made a terrific leap to tip a high cross come shot onto the bar. England again had to defend against some great approach play from Sweden let down only by a poor shot. At the other end England were awarded a penalty which they deserved for their attacking play. The goal was given, but at half time the story was that the Dutch lady officials had let down Sweden by allowing the goal, as the penalty taker scored from the rebound off the post without the keeper touching it. 

The Sage of Ditchburn was very impressed by the way the ladies' teams never once surrounded the ref or showed any anger or indignation at her decisions -just got on with the game. I thought it was odd that the Ditchburn had not visited the Vic since the last home game yet here he was raving over ladies football. ...mmmm. 

We were entertained by the Hartlepool Hawks kids dance group, and the original England band who follow the men’s game, who were perched up in the top corner of the Mill House Stand and they even started a Mexican wave a couple of times, which petered out in the F. A. courtesy seats in the CK stand. 

Second half and the England team went two up with an excellent goal from just wide of the box that arched over the keeper and into the side of the goal. I am allowed to say they now had their tails up and some great attacking football was pleasing to watch, technically and skilfully executed. A young black girl who was great on the ball was tearing Sweden to pieces and set up the third goal with a great lay off. Miss Nobbs set up the fourth on eighty minutes and it was game over for Sweden side that I was actually disappointed with and expected more from, especially in the second half when they brought on their big guns. After the fare we have been watching in the pre-season this was a great game of football from two sides that never stopped attacking.