Far, Far Below Par

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the Vic

Pools 0 Exeter City 2  (League 2) Saturday January 30th 2016

I see the official website called this game a "below par performance". I, like a lot of Pools fans today, could possibly find a better description for it. Apart from ten minutes in the first half and the last fifteen aided by the wind we were never in it. Too many players looking as if they did not want the ball, not many making what you might call a decent pass to their own players. Strikers on strike and some desperate defending brought on by a lack of cohesion in the side.

One fan asked me as he does every week “what is going on at this club?” I replied "you ask me every week and I just do not know". He thinks Ronnie Moore is too old school and the team is ten years behind our fellow teams in the division.

Once again the visitors won the toss and we kicked down bank the first half. It was a bright opening for Pools with Oates and Woods pressing the ball and turning defenders. For a brief spell we looked ok up to the edge of their box. Woods had a decent chance chasing a ball into the box but he was muscled out of it and in truth the lad does not look 100 per cent fit. That was possibly the only real chance of the half as it all fell apart from then on. The visitors, using the windy conditions to good effect, racing down the Millhouse side and whipping the ball in, Carson making a great save almost from their first attack.

Pools struggled to get any real threat going and we looked second best in a high percentage of challenges. We lost Oates, who is possibly one of our better grafters, after he was wiped out. Mr. Handley did not see anything wrong with the challenge. Thomas came on for Oates and I for one would have started with him after his last home performance.

Their first goal was a well-worked effort out of defence down the line to the by-line and a quick cross at a perfect height for the lad to nod it past Carson.
We expected better the second half if we could use the wind like they did but we sent more balls out of play than down the wings. We were back to the old school Pools - not able to hold the ball long enough to create anything and this puts pressure on the team.

Harrison was very lucky not to be red carded after his headlock brought down an attacker. Woods, who looked injured, and Featherstone made way for Magnay and Paynter, which lifted the crowd a little but did not improve the side. We were kept at long range and as you all know we do not have a proven goal scorer so it was an easy task for the visitors, who controlled the game.
"it was an easy task for the visitors, who controlled the game"

There was a shout for a handball by the opposition in a rare Pools attack but it was ignored. The ground was starting to empty half an hour from the end after such a poor show. There was a lot of noise made by the Pools fans after a shot from the visitors hit the bar and bounced down but it was definitely over the line from where I stood and as the Ditchburn Poolie was away blowing his nose there was no argument from him.

We really have to start putting something together or we are going to finish up like last season. As one fan said to me "twenty players in and no improvement to the side looks bad". The bottom teams are catching us and we know how hard it is to get off the bottom.

A new signing is supposedly coming from Scotland, an unpronounceable name, and the possibility of a return of Luke James to the Vic, but if so, will it be enough? A lot of fans are running out of patience judging by the cat calls today throughout the game, and the booing after the final whistle. Which set of fans ever applauds a defeat?

A point on the Luke James saga, I was told by a fan who claims he has his ear to the ground that we have not been paid the full fee for young Luke - but the ear to the ground could be that old Indian trick,and he was just listening for buffalo.