Plymouth Fury

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the Vic

Pools 1 Plymouth 2 (League 2) Saturday December 19th 2015

More trouble getting to the Vic again today as the sprog was out shopping so I had to catch a bus. I was tempted to walk as it is only about four stops but as the bus turned up I decided to hop on. Then the Christmas spirit left me, as I could not produce my bus pass, so I was charged £1.70 for the privilege. I think the last time I paid a bus fare for this trip it cost me about 10d, so if I cannot claim expenses from the Bizz I will just have to charge the sprog as it was her fault.

First of all I must get a moan in about today's official. As this is the beginning of the piece you will understand that I was not biased in the claim that Graham Sailsbury has to be the worst official ever to referee a game at the Vic, and this even covers the school games I have seen - he was diabolical. He aided and abetted this high-flying Plymouth team throughout the game and was blatant in his hatred of anything Hartlepool. I must check to see if he ever married a Hartlepool woman and was getting his revenge for a life of suffering.

Less than two minutes into the game this clown had his card out and booked Gray for a small misdemeanor, a slight pull on a player who was challenging him for the ball. In the melee in the Pools box resulting from the free kick, Jackson was pole-axed on the line defending the cross and not a word was spoken to the offending Plymouth player. Mr. Salisbury seemed to give free kicks to the opposition just for turning up and turned a blind eye to their hacking of Pools players and the fact they dived to the ground every time a Pools player made a tackle. The Vic was filled with ironic cheers every time we got a free kick, which was not often, and usually in the middle of the park.

After a bright ten-minute spell by the visitors, Pools started to match them, playing some good football in the process. Pools were denied a penalty when a defender dived and blocked a Woods shot with his hands but of course Mr. Salisbury happened to be looking the other way. Pools went close with a shot from Jackson that was inches wide.

Throughout the half Woods was chopped down incessantly as he, along with Gray and Naismith, was taking a grip of the game, which was good to see after the horrendous play in the Salford cup game.

It was a decent half for Pools despite the official, but again the lack of a finisher or a playmaker was obvious. The visitors were a decent side but not a great side when you think that the win today puts them on top of the table. It is sod's law that the high flyers always seem to get the bounce of the ball to either get them out of trouble or give them the edge in a fifty-fifty.

One rumour at half time was that if Moore does not get some form going by January then it is curtains for him. Christmas is always a silly time for managers and some big fish have been caught out and others are floundering recently but you can never put any trust in a Town End rumour.

Keeping in the Christmas mode we had more that a fair share of Christmas jumpers at the game today. In fact Snow White's friends the dwarves trundled along to the bar at half time but there was more like twenty seven than seven.
"one comment we heard 'the wrong time for Pools to score' was so prophetic."

The second half started like the first with the visitors stepping up their game as they played towards the five hundred or so traveling fans in the Rink End, shooting on sight, but we defended well. Harrison had a bit of a torrid time against a very fast winger but he held his ground and the winger was taken off half way through the half. Featherstone had a good game and was unlucky with a good move in the box but his shot was just wide.

Pools were doing ok until a very slack ball from defence resulted in a free kick for the visitors and the ball eventually ended up in the net after a low drive was not seen soon enough by Carson. Shortly after Pools were level with a penalty decision, which was so blatant, even Salisbury could not deny it. Fenwick was bundled to the ground in the box as he made for goal. The decision seemed to send the visitors into frenzy as they surrounded Mr. Salisbury then turned their attention to Fenwick, surrounding him in an attempt to put him off. Even their keeper went nose to nose with the Pools man, which action itself should have warranted a card for intimidation. Fenwick took the ball from Bingham who wanted to take the spot kick and duly sent the keeper the wrong way and Fenwick in his celebration ran at the keeper to let him know his feelings.

It was one all on eighty-six minutes and Pools just deserved a point, but one comment we heard 'the wrong time for Pools to score' was so prophetic.

The four minutes left gave the visitors the incentive to hammer at us and like I said, when you are top of the league the ball always seems to drop for you. Again a ball was lost in defence that at this stage should have been wellied out of the ground, but the visitors pounced on it and scored the winner on ninety minutes.

A much improved performance despite the loss.