Wimbledon (h) As I Seen It

RUNNING MONKEY says "Yes We Can" 

Pools 1 Wimbledon 0
League 2
Victoria Park
28th February 2015

On the way to the Vic my daughter mentioned that new strikers for Pools always score on their debuts. If ever we needed a scorer, today was the day. 

The manager claimed this was going to be a big week in the future of the HUFC. A meeting was being called by some fans in the Corner Flag after the game today in order to set up a trust with the intentions of taking over the club if IOR walk away. I would think we would soon hear of any plans made. 

Way back in August we beat today’s opposition 2-1 at Wimbledon but today’s game has much more hanging on it as we hopefully bring out some good home form again to lift us eventually off the bottom, I am in the minority when I say this can be done. 

It was a do or die game too and Pools started brightly, playing football, keeping it down and going at them down the flanks. Flinders was in action early as a ball into the box was blocked and he dived bravely at feet to clear the danger. 

A header from the edge the box hit the bar as Wimbledon started to put some pressure on us, winning a succession of corners. Once again we were under the cosh a bit, unable to hold onto the ball, and not scaring anyone in the Wimbledon end. A little light relief was the sight of Mirfin, down at the Rink End, pick up a ball out wide and nutmeg his defender, but his cross was cleared. 

I said to the Ditchburn Poolie "How long is that big feller Akinfenwa going to last?" He is more rotund than tall but certainly knows his way around the pitch, and most times his tackles are fouls but he disguises his elbows very well. He came close with a turn and shot from the edge of the box but it was wide and never troubled Flinders. 

Winfield their big centre half was not much of a footballer, he was more adept at wrestling, practising his moves on young Smith, who was running him ragged, and nearly brought out an own goal from the defender as he tried to block his shot. Our old agitating ref Mr. Boyeson was doing his very best to upset the home fans, which is normal for him, but to give him his due, despite letting a lot of fouls go unpunished, this was one of his better games at the Vic. Cue insult from the Ditchburn, who actually walked the length of the Town End to berate the Millhouse linesman for not flagging for another foul on Duckworth

Franks played an awful ball down the line and a frustrated fan behind me shouted, “We know where you live, Franksie” which is a bit harsh, but lightened the moment. 

Wimbledon turned on the pressure towards the end of the half and Flinders, who was really steady today, made some good saves throughout the game and late in the half, along with the help of Mirfin, helped to thwart a concerted attack from the visitors. 

Wimbledon has the reputation of being a hard team and they were just that, and there will be a few Pools players on the treatment table on Monday, following this cruncher. 

After the break, again it was the visitors testing our nerve. Duckworth had a very good game today, making some great crosses from out wide, putting pressure on them, and it started to show, as Pools were edging it now. " ...new strikers for Pools always score on their debuts. If ever we needed a scorer, today was the day."

Woods raced after a ball down the middle and what both the Ditchburn and I agreed on was that the late tackle by the centre half was unnecessary, as Woods had won the corner. The tackle was late and crude, and it looks like a broken ankle for Woods, which is devastating for our run-in.

The half time discussion was on the fact that Pools have been using ball girls rather than ball boys lately. This is upsetting the Ditchburn, who, on his way to the refreshment stand for his warm milk and a chocolate brioche said something to the effect of "Stroppy bloody idle teenage wasters who think it is not their job to leave the warmth of the surrounding fence to collect a ball. It is hard work and I am watching the game.” He could be right. Bring back the boys, please. At least they can kick the ball back.

Pools lifted their game, kicking downhill, and the pressure now was all on the visitors, who had made a lot of chances throughout the game, but had not been able to capitalize, and were becoming more frustrated, and the fouls were coming thick and fast. This suited Pools, who were now playing the better football, and both Mirfin in front of goal and Tshibola had shots that went close. 

The much-deserved goal came after Smith laid on a ball for Duckworth, whose cross, almost from the byline, found Bird racing in to slot the ball home from close range. The lad had struggled at times adjusting to the game plan, but never gave up on effort and thoroughly deserved the goal. 

Once again the visitors came at us in numbers, looking to snatch something back, but Pools held firm. Flinders made some great stops and Mirfin and Harrison in particular handled the threat of Akinfenwa, who won a lot in the air and laid off some telling passes, but was never a real threat on our goal. 

Twelve minutes were added for the Woods injury and again it was backs to the wall until Mr. Boyeson suddenly realised there were two teams playing, and the home team were taking all the stick. Pools held on till the end, and on the second half display really deserved the win. 

A great team performance and quite a few outstanding games today: Flinders, Austin, Harrison, Duckworth, and Woods until he went off, were all contenders for man-of-the-match, but that honour went to Smith, who also had a good game last week apparently. 

The buzz phrase this week is, "YES WE CAN!"