Stevenage (h) As I Seen It

RUNNING MONKEY sees a rare home defeat

Pools 1 Stevenage 3
League 2
Victoria Park
14th February 2015

On the way to the ground I listened to some of the "Ivanashisms", and he was discussing Tuesday's game and the chances that fell to Marlon Harewood late on, as we beat the Cobblers to gain a very valuable three points.

The comment went something like this; "Late in the game Harewood had two glorious chances inside the box to score. Considering he is making a living at being a striker there was very little composure on display."

We were very lucky on the night, getting a win from a mis-hit ball that fell for Morgan. There was enough evidence on Tuesday that the twin strike force that was to be employed today would bear little fruit. So to hear there would be no changes was disappointing. One ray of hope was that Fenwick had made the bench. I was secretly hoping that Mr. Moore was playing mind games with the visitors and Marlon would be withdrawn after the warm up, but it was not to be.

The ref today was Steve Martin, namesake of the American comedy star. By the end of the game I was wishing it had been the real Steve Martin. I am not supposed to criticise officials too heavily so I will only quote what the Ditchburn Poolie said of the man: "This Barsteward was the @!&*)$@ who was the only )^@£ to spoil Sir Richie of Humphreys' record, giving him the one and only red card of his career, the $^()4£@.” I did say to the Ditchburn that we just cannot go on blaming officials for all our ills.

For the first seventeen minutes we were making a game of it and, as the home side should, we were pressing them back, and Compton in particular was causing panic in the visitors' defence.

Once again our possession was leading to very little as the strong Stevenage side held us at the edge of their box, and our long-range stuff was a waste of time. I do not remember their keeper ever being stretched throughout the game.

I mentioned seventeen minutes as there was an injury at this time, and so a lot of the players were taking drinks and taking instructions, but from the restart we were on the back foot for the rest of the game.

Franks made his was across the edge of their box and the obvious ball was out wide to Compton on his own, but Franks, as he does, cut back and tried a shot through a crowded area, which is so frustrating to the fans. I had a theory which I ran past the Ditchburn, that was, as the new lad from the Borer was on the bench, Franks was not prepared to feed his team-mate as one of them could possibly be hooked to make way for the new lad. The Ditchburn's reaction was unrepeatable, but I stick by this theory.

Marlon and Morgan were seen to be arguing after Morgan made his way into the box and laid off a nice ball near the spot, that Marlon had not anticipated, and was left like a lemon in the middle as the ball was carried away by the defender. Composure Marlon, composure. You can always tell when Marlon is not up for the game; his body language speaks volumes. He becomes belligerent with the ref, and at one point he was going eye to eye with Shan Tan Sideways, who incidentally is still going sideways, and still can’t head a ball straight. Captain for the day, and winning the toss, Walton turned us round and you knew then it was not going to be our day. 

We were under pressure and had little guile to change this as they ran straight through the middle of us and we laid down for them. Another costly slip-up laid on an easy goal for the visitors and it never got any better throughout the first half, as we made them look good. "Do we want a player, not quite fit, who can score goals, or a fit Marlon, who is disinterested? "

Ned had to make a long run off his line and dived at a ball, just getting it off the toe of the attacker but it was becoming backs to the wall. The Ditchburn said he knows the ROOT CAUSE of the problem: we can’t hold on to the ball up front, we struggle to get our passes in consistently and we can’t get the crosses in that will give us a chance to score. Realistically, we are INCONSISTENTLY rubbish.

The usual party of half-time drinkers promised they would return late, and kept to their word, and for the third time missed a Pools goal at the start of the second half.

The good news at half time had been that Marlon was left in the dressing room, and Fenwick was back, and it took the lad just four minutes to latch onto a Franks cross and slot the ball home for one-all. Why oh why did he not start the game? He has to be the better option. Do we want a player, not quite fit, who can score goals, or a fit Marlon, who is disinterested? 

The visitors won a corner, and honestly there was a totally free header for their second, and seeing as there was no challenge and a lot of ball watching, even I could have scored it. 

The introduction of Fenwick did give us a bit of a lift, but Stevenage came at us time and time again playing more decisive football - the kind of stuff we rarely see from the home side on a regular basis, and that is the problem. Their third goal looked a bit of a fluke as Pools were appealing for a free kick and a long range shot spun up in front of Ned, who tried to push it away. It spun over his head and into the goal, with Mirfin desperately trying to hook it back, but it was in the net before he caught up with it. 

There was no way back for Pools in this game now. The new lad Jones did come on but there was little to show from him in a game that was lost.