As I Seen It - Cheltenham Town (h)


POOLS 2 - CHELTENHAM TOWN 0   League Two  Saturday 10th January 2015

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at The Vic


After my last report I was pleased to see the manager tell the fans prior to this game that the team owed the fans a result.

After five games in charge his record is what you might call excellent compared to the early season of Cooper, and to a lesser extent Murray. ONE WIN, TWO DRAWS AND TWO LOSSES. 

Yet it seems as if he has been here a lot longer. I can only surmise that after the last home game when I lambasted everyone connected with H.U.F.C. that even the club cat left home. This rant of mine could possibly have prompted Mr. Moore to criticize his players publicly. 

On the terrace there were mixed feelings about this ploy but I was with the camp that said he did the right thing, and a public dressing down could work on some players. "The fact that some of the players can’t tackle or distribute the ball was down to their lack of decent coaching in my humble opinion" was spot on. Full backs should be able to tackle and going forward should only be a bonus for the players who can do the basic job first, then get their team on top and that allows them to get forward. 

I must admit it was a total surprise, nay shock to see the performance today. OK the manager brought in Bingham and Tshibola, who were outstanding. The reinstated Woods for my money was man-of-the-match, producing his best game at the club. Even at the dying minutes of the game when there was a fracas between Harrison and a Cheltenham player who insisted on cuddling each other on the turf, even getting the players and benches to join in as they all piled onto the pitch, it was good to see Woods walk away as he was not going to be suspended again for a useless scrap on the pitch. 

The omens were in our favour as we won the toss and kicked up the bank for the first half, not that it made much difference in today’s cross-wind. The Chelts manager commented after the game that the difference between the two teams was that Hartlepool coped better in the wind - WINK Wink! 

Both Franks and Compton fired shots at the visiting keeper as Pools took the game to the visitors with Woods pulling the strings and with Harrison a tower of strength at the heart of the defence we looked solid. Woods takes a lot of stick from visiting forwards as they know he makes us tick, and today he was purring like a well-oiled engine as he played some beautiful balls around the park. 

Harrison connected with a cross from Franks and his powerful header was blocked on the line. Fenwick was put through by Woods but his shot was collected by the keeper. Compton was excellent today and a great run to the by-line ended with a pin-point low early cross and Fenwick was there to hit it past the Cheltenham keeper to send the Pools fans into raptures -  not only had we seen a goal but we had witnessed some great football that produced it. 

I can only assume that the lady who does the scoreboard had slept in as at half time the board read SEE PIC, It could have been predictive text and she knew we were going to score two so posted it up in the wrong box and went home early. Or the Ditchburn Poolie may be right when he said it only accepts even numbers. 

Cheltenham going a goal down brought out the nasty streak in their game and both Woods and Duckworth were taken out by some really bad tackles and it was credit to the Pools players for not feigning injury. The half time chat was more upbeat and the Ditchburn in unusual cheery mood put this down to his late Christmas sales shopping. He made a killing on some of those, e.g. quote: "INCEST STICKS”, which him and Mrs. Ditchburn had bought to brighten up their Ditchburn home. 

At the start of the second half we were confident, having the down bank advantage, but there was an early shock as Cheltenham had the ball in the net on the first attack although it was rightly ruled offside. Through some good work by the defence Pools steadied the ship and were back at the visitors and really pressing hard for the second goal. Both Tshibola and Bingham were a revelation, holding the ball up and laying it off, wasting very little possession and along with Woods really making the team play some great football.

Bingham, (son of Billy, according to Ditchburn) went close when he met a Compton cross, turned on a tanner, and hit the ball, which was blocked on the line. The two new boys, who were always looking to break, linked up with Woods and had the visitors turned inside out as Bingham made it two nil to Pools.

"This was a real team effort and today we looked like a team"
This was a real team effort and today we looked like a team. None of the hoof ball tactics which I complained about in the last report, this was good to watch football.

Young Dan Jones is making a name for himself and looks steady, and is never slow to get forward. He was very unlucky today not to chalk up a goal as he raced into the back post where a Compton cross hit him on the knee, spun up onto him and landed over the line, only for the lino to rule him offside. 

Franks made a good run late in the half as he jinked his way through their defence. He lost the ball when he had the chance to lay it off to two players open on the far side of the area. At the other end I thought Chelenham had scored when a crossed ball was missed by Ned and Harrison and hit the inside of the post then was cleared away by Jones. 

Right at the death there was a little handbag swinging as Harrison went down and a Cheltenham player decided he wanted a piece of him. A rather large huddle followed as both benches and nearly all the players went into the huddle, but the ref blew for time and from the official site I see that Harrison was the only one booked for that tumble. 

This was a far superior performance than the last home game shambles and the credit must go to the manager for the new boys and getting a grip of the old boys, and giving them a shake. He is right in his post match notes where he states that they can get out of this especially as the results went our way. The next two will be crucial. Can we get the same performance against Shrewsbury? I am certain that on the visit to Tranmere Mr. Moore will want the three points. 

Happy Poolies once again!