As I Seen It - Luton Town (H)

RUNNING MONKEY sees Pools play well in parts

Pools 1  Luton Town 2
League Two, 
Victoria Park, 
11th October, 2014

Another nostalgia moment today, as the seventh anniversary of the death of Michael Maidens was remembered with applause by the fans on twenty-five minutes. 

A more recent loss was also remembered: Rhys Hewitt the young English Martyrs School pupil who lost his life this week in a road accident. There was a huge presence of school children in the crowd today and it has to be said they did the lad proud not only for the applause on fourteen minutes but for their actions throughout the game. They behaved impeccably and it was good to see a section of the visiting Luton fans join in the applause for both the lads lost.

The unchanged Pools side looks a more balanced side since Sam took over, and the football is so much better to watch. It makes you wonder just how negative Cooper had been in his selection and tactics for the recent games before his departure. 

Charlie Wyke looks a different player and it was Charlie that had the first real crack in the opening exchanges. He hit a belter on the turn and the keeper did well just to block it away. It was a good positive start by Pools and we looked as a home side should, taking the game to the visitors. Brobbel is a class player and was mobbed by Luton every time he got the ball. He was a thorn in their side all afternoon and almost opened the scoring with a screamer from out wide that looked from the Town End to have skimmed the bar. 

The Ditchburn Poolie and I finally agreed on a point of football. That was that young Jim Lad ARRRRGGGH Hawkins would become a top player. The kid oozes skill and is never afraid to take someone on, and his work rate chasing back and winning vital tackles is second to none. 

Mpanzu the Luton striker could have been a good player if only for the fact that he whined and cried for pity every time he was hit by a tackle. In fact it was through his histrionics that Pools had the extra time at the end of the game to dent their pride a little with a late penalty. Speaking of which, Wyke deserved a penalty on the half hour mark as he was taken down three yards inside the box but Mr. Tierney and his assistant were both looking the other way. "Not totally disgraced as we played well in parts and if you play well in parts and lose then the fans are happy."

Tierney, who has “I have reffed in the Premiership” syndrome, tried to "let the game flow" as they say up there. The trouble with that is they ignore the rules of the game, selectively I mean. Apparently you can elbow a centre forward all day and get away with it if you play in a tangerine shirt. But if you dare step out of line when you are wearing blue and white stripes then you are going to be penalised all day. Luton were particularly physical in the line up for free kicks, at times it looked like that American all star wrestling show. 

I am still not sure if Bates is a true Poolie yet as he seems half-hearted at times and despite winning a decent header in their box and spraying the ball around a little he is lacking in what you might call “FIZZ”. I suppose it comes with age. On the other hand I remarked to the Ditchburn how Tommy Miller had raised his game recently, you still see the odd snap ball that is miss-hit but overall his play has improved. 

Luton were quick on the break and they caught us out with a good move up field. I thought the scorer was possibly just offside, seeing as I was closer to him than both the useless ref, who was always behind the game, and the linesman, who gave us nowt all day, and both allowed the play to continue with Flinders having the ignominy of having a ball pushed through his legs for the opening goal. 

There were some full-blooded tackles from Luton who were desperate to preserve their lead and a free kick from one of these led to a Brobbel free kick that went close as the first half ended. 

Apart from a short spell at the beginning, Luton were all over us for most of the second half. They had a definite goal chance cleared off the line following a free kick. The second Luton goal was difficult to judge from the far end but we could see it coming all through the half. We were unable to emulate the pressure we put on them in the first half and found ourselves on the back foot for long periods of the game. 

The Ditchburn, who as you know is a statistician on football, especially Pools, noted that the number twenty-eight for Luton had spent seventy two minutes warming up. We thought this lad is trying too hard to get on, and was not going to catch the eye of his manager - he looked paggered. On he comes and with what could have been his first touch put them two nil up. Finally the Premiership idleness had worn off Mr. Tierney and he started to apply himself to his real job and gave us a penalty after a trip on Walker. I was closer to the incident than he was this time too. Aussie stepped up and gave us little lift. But it was on ninety-one minutes by then and after a few loon hoofs from both sides the game ended in defeat for the home side. Not totally disgraced as we played well in parts and if you play well in parts and lose then the fans are happy.

Rumour was that the owner Mr. Larsen was at the game today, and had his yearly game of footy at the Vic yesterday, As I have never set eyes on the man I can only pass on the rumour but again the "in jail" quote did come up. Also you will all have heard a version of the Chairman’s take on the trouble recently at the Vic over walkouts and anti-board campaigns. He did mention the policing of some games and the facts that the Council are against selling the ground and they are putting the rent up, and the comment that those who want to see the back of the owners may get their wish soon. 

So get your road maps ready for the Conference League you lucky people.