Cambridge (h) - As I Seen It

RUNNING MONKEY sees Pools leave the drop zone

Pools 2 Cambridge United 1
League 2
Victoria Park
27th March 2015

As the Cambridge cup giant killers rolled into town it gave us another chance to lift ourselves off the bottom. 

On current form Pools are third in League Two, yet here we are sitting on the bottom rung. Are we bothered? Are we hell. Mind you, back around Christmas it was certainly a bleak mid winter, and so depressing when you bumped into fellow Poolies who were convinced this was going to be our last stand. It was depressing, it was looking really bad, and it was hard to try and lift your own spirits, never mind the downcast fans you met. 

I remember writing in a report recently that it was sad to watch our side slide into the non-league, but at that time it looked inevitable. As I only do home games, I can only comment on those, but talk about a turn around in fortunes, today’s game was the icing on the cake, the numero uno in number one top prizes. As the saying goes, the league table never lies and as it sits tonight we are third bottom, with Carlisle and York just above, with both having to play the league's bottom-end form team before the end of the season. 

It was a sad first for me today as we stood on the terrace waiting for the teams to come out. The Ditchburn Poolie admitted that he was nervous. I could have fallen over the barrier with shock. The macho man from Ditchburn nervous? I was going to say 'the only gay in the village' was nervous but that would be a lie, allegedly. As you can see from my previous comment, I am still in shock (It is a total lie about there being only one gay in the village.) His pre-match report on the ref was all a little vague too, but the gist of it was that this feller is controversial and it must be bad when both teams in the same report seem to think along these lines. Anyway, today the ref acted in the perfect manner and was just as controversial as any we have had this season. 

Enough of that - we came for a game, and a game we got. The wind would play a big part in proceedings, howling like a hooligan and dropping just as quick to a moderate breeze. As is the norm for visiting teams with ex-Poolies in the side, they start playing silly beggars and turning us round. Nelson and Ryan Donaldson were the exes today, and we were turned. It could be that we are just unlucky in the toss. 

As it worked out, the advantage aided the visitors in the first half, but aided Pools in both halves. As the wind was blowing diagonally towards the right hand corner of the Rink End, it was the visitors who were making the most of the conditions, and it was a good ten minutes before we crossed over the half way line. It was on one of the few times we did not give the ball away which gave us a chance to break, and a great cross from Franks, who, despite the odd goof ball is playing better. Up popped Walker, doing his impression of manure’s Rooney, and headed a long ball straight past the keeper. The celebration round the ground was fantastic, and chants of 'we are off the bottom' rang out loud and clear. The Ditchburn was so excited he almost wet himself. "The celebration round the ground was fantastic, and chants of 'we are off the bottom' rang out loud and clear."

The visitors came straight back and, again aided by the wind, they put more pressure on us and almost scored after a scramble in the Pools box was not cleared, and a scruffy shot came off the inside of Ned’s post and was cleared. 

It was not long before they did equalize when a scrappy scramble in the box ended with the ball in the Pools net. Mirfin and Harrison are in good form and, despite some dodgy wrestling around the box, they held the line under pressure until half time. Up front, the new boy Hugill went close right on half time as he raced in and blasted a ball just too high at the far post. This lad looks good; he is a handful for defenders, wins a lot of headers and puts himself about, causing panic in defenders. One draw back is that he likes to go down. The ref was not impressed, and to be honest, I think he was trying too hard to please, but overall he was another good find by Mr. Moore. 

Another first today was a Pools hokey cokey around the centre circle as a warm up. It reminded me of a time eons ago when, at a reserve match with Pools and L***s, their reserves came out of the tunnel and made what looked like a conga around the field as their warm up. I remember it well as it was the first time I had seen those little flag emblems that the L***s players wore to keep their footy socks up back in the day. 

Franks had an early chance when he was put through by Walker, but was undecided which way to go and the keeper robbed him of the ball. The wind was an advantage to Pools in the second half but the problem was controlling the long-range stuff on the day. From a corner that Franks took into a crowded box, the ball dropped for Harrison who swivelled and hit an unstoppable ball into the back of the net. Huge celebrations erupted in the crowd of five thousand as the word got round, with the three points almost in the bag, that we were out of the zone, and what a relief that was to all concerned. 

It seems as if the Ferguson watch is now used at Pools, as for the last four games now we have had an inordinate amount of time added on, and today was no exception, with eight minutes added to the game, this to a half that seemed to have been running for an hour already. 

To be fair to the lads, they had the game won, and played some good football defensively and up front in very windy conditions, and one last chance came for the visitors late in added time, but Ned was up there tipping the ball up then falling with it to the ground, where he lay until all the players had cleared, and not long afterwards the celebrations around the Vic broke out, as the ref ended the game.