Up for the Cup

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the Vic

Pools 1 Cheltenham 0 (FA Cup, Round 1) Saturday November 7th 2015

Another re-jigged Pools side against high-flying Cheltenham for whom this might be a revenge match, considering that we effectively doomed them to the Conference a few months back. 

The Ditchburn Poolie was unsettled as he had all the SP on the ref of the day, only to find that he had been switched at the last minute. The sight of another female lino, which made his day, tempered his anger slightly. I pointed out "you give them the vote and the next thing they are running every bloody thing". He spent the afternoon giving her marks out of ten for the way she stuck up her flag, despite most of the decisions she got wrong.

One plus factor he pointed out was the normal giants that usually visit the Vic were down in numbers, in fact they had three, possibly four munchkins in the side. They looked like schoolboy footy players, especially in the line up.

Mr Moore had been busy at the F.A. trading post again, and once again he looked to have unearthed a couple of gems. Centre half Jackson from the Borer, who partnered Master Bates in the back line, was a very tidy player. He turned in a great performance and was voted Man of the Match. Gray,the other signing, was exactly what we needed - a genuine midfield player, who also performed magnificently and could also have been a candidate for M.o.M. Duckworth would have been a worthy winner of the title as he looks to be back to his best and was one of our more potent players.

It was a slow game early doors, as Pools could not break out of the stranglehold Cheltenham had on in. It was thirteen minutes before we had what you might call a decent threat on their goal. The visitors on the other hand were a busy side and played some good approach work, with the Munchkins running the show, but fortunately for Pools their last ball was awful most of the first half.

It looked like we were defending slightly better but we did ride our luck throughout the half. Even Bates managed a good block on the line, which would have been a certain goal, but then he did his party trick of going down injured only to pop back up soon after. I think it is a new ploy, if he goes down every time we are under pressure the game will stop but it will take till eight o clock at night to finish the game judging by the pressure we were under at times.
"they had three, possibly four munchkins in the side"

A Cheltenham free kick was floated over the box and an incoming Cheltenham defender on his own in our box was inches from scoring but hit the ball across the box and just wide of the far post, while we stood ball watching, which happens quite a lot. Pools were under pressure and we just hoofed the ball away only to see it come back. Those that criticise the midfield as being non-existent have to take a look at the tactics.

 About half way through the half Paynter was off for Bingham. We were about as good as the visitors were around our box with the ball either robbed from our attack or we made the wrong pass, but it was all breaking down too easily.

In the last minute of the first half Pools managed an attack that proved fruitful. In honour of the visiting C.E.O. of Monkey Business, Pools scored a totally unexpected goal. Featherstone had a shot blocked and it dropped to Oyenugu who darted in and slid the ball over the line. Going in at half time was real unexpected bonus as the visitors had played most of the football.

In the second half Pools fared little better as the visitors went for the equaliser. Possibly the best chance of the game fell to Fenwick, who, after a great run and cross from Bingham, could only steer the ball wide of the post.

It was an Alamo-style stand-off for Pools throughout the half as the visitors put us under pressure, which we once again succumbed to by hapless heading or booting the ball back to the opposition.

Jackson and Carson were the pick of the bunch at the back, and Gray, the midfielder from Palace and Duckworth were at least trying to carry the ball forward.