Exeter (h) As I Seen It

RUNNING MONKEY sees safety achieved

Pools 2 Exeter City 1
League 2
Victoria Park
25th April 2015

It must have been a tough week for most Pools fans this week, trying to anticipate what would or could happen on our last home game of the season. In a way I was pretty confident that we could make it safe today providing the other two teams failed to win.
The good thing about the situation was that we were not in a Cheaterfield situation as we were the last time we were relegated, or another Cheltenham situation were a points fiddle helped them stay up. It was in our own hands, and depending on which Hartlepool team turned up then we could either save the day or go into the last game next week needing a result.
I was confident with Ronnie Moore in command. Who else could have turned around a twelve point deficit and give us the chance to save our league status? Ok he gets paid to do a job, and so did Colin Cooper who I blame for our desperate position, and partly the board for keeping him in place after his first season, when it was obvious that the man had no idea about this level of football. Then once Hignett moved on and he was left with the players he had brought in, then he was exposed as a no-hoper.
Murray was only ever going to be a stop gap and it is unfair to criticise him as that was a desperate gamble from the owners.

"A legacy from the Cooper era soon knocked us back down again"

Ronnie Moore is the man we loved to hate as he could always turn up and turn us over, and if we looked like getting the upper hand he could change the situation, and that is what makes him a good manager. When you look at his stint at the club, every move has been positive, and if things did not work for him then he set about changing things, even with the limited options he had at his disposal.
If nothing else he gave the fans hope, and the players confidence. He once said he had a list as long as his arm of players refusing to come to the frozen north simply because a relegation on their CV would have been a black mark. I only hope we can hang onto Ronnie Moore and see what kind of a team he can build here, especially when you look at the players he did manage to attract. I just hope the board support him after his efforts to save our season.
The game itself set off at quite a pace and if ever we needed a good start this game was it. Ok, one Poolie commented that if all the bottom three lost their remaining matches we would still survive. But who would want to go to Carlisle next week needing a result? If that had been the case we would probably all be blacked up to cover our embarrassment.
The arch-demon Carl Boyeson was also in attendance, and I often think he blames us for his getting dropped from the higher echelons of the Football League as he always makes us suffer. Today, for instance, the only man booked was Hugill, who was chasing a forward who ran across him and the card was out in a flash with the clock only on eight minutes.
Both Fenwick and Hugill are a handful for any team, and Boyeson was trying to stifle our chances.The two of them combined to send the Vic into raptures as Fenwick, put through by Hugill, slotted the ball past the advancing Exeter keeper. What a start, and on balance it was a well deserved lead.
A legacy from the Cooper era soon knocked us back down again as Master Bates, guiding a ball back to the dead ball line, suddenly hit the ball when it was easier to let it run out for a goal kick. The attacker had no time or space to even get a foot on the ball and the result was a corner to the visitors. It looked to me like they got a free header which Ned managed to push round the post, but a repeat of the corner found the same head and it resulted in the equaliser. It was bloody annoying to see us go down once again to a set piece.
Pools had a short spell to endure as the visitors raised their game but Pools pressed them back again and were unlucky not to score from a succession of corners they won at the Rink End. We defended well and with Featherstone carrying the ball forward all the time we played some decent football. Tshibola was having a better game than of late and a great run from him set up Hugill to score Pools' second goal, which would eventually become the winner.
Pools came out for the second half with all guns blazing, and Franks made a good early run but was unlucky as his effort went just wide. This was a good second half performance from Pools to protect the lead.
Harrison was immense at the back and the duo up front were running the visitors ragged. I just wish that whatever these two lads Hugill and Fenwick are made of could be bottle fed to the rest of the squad as these two lads never stopped hassling. Hugill, who had been booked earlier, was withdrawn for Marlon as Boyeson had been taking more than a passing interest in him and came close to booking him a second time. Possibly the manager was having one eye on the next game and Hugill was taken off before being sent off. Featherstone was once again the engine driver for Pools as he made some great runs, executed some brilliant passes and really urged the team on in a bad spell half way through the second half.
The Ditchburn Poolie commented about Scott Harrison: “How the hell did we get that lad?" He was magnificent again today and I do not think he missed more than one header apart from when they scored their goal.
So Pools survive. Yet again.