A Match Suffered

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the Vic

Pools 2 Notts County 3  (League 2) Tuesday February 16th 2016

A match suffered, well at least the first half, as Pools just never got going. 

Welcome to the Football League basement Mr. Hignett. We just did not compete in the first half, in fact it was close to half an hour before we at the Town End saw any action as once again we had lost the toss and kicked down bank the first half. I can only remember two sorties into their half in the first half hour. Even the optimistic Ditchy said it was going to be a long night, For once he was ok with the ref apart from a comment of “he must live closer to Notts than he does us as he did not show up on the Ditch radar of refs." As it turned out we thought he had done a decent job.

Pools went a goal down in the first five minutes when two Pools defenders conspired to lose a ball mid-way in our own half and a long-range shot gave Carson no chance. Heads went down and we were back to the old standard of hoof ball despite the opposition fielding nine-foot giants in defence, who picked up the ball and they just walked through us. We were at odds all over the park, could not make a pass, could not win the ball, and if we did we invariably gave it straight back to the visitors. Consequently we were two nil down in no time and it was backs to the wall and looking a very poor side.

The Ditchburn, who has seen a few games in his time, remarked it was the worst start to a game he could ever remember. Richards who was Man of the Match on Saturday was shocking, so bad he was hooked at half time.

The visitors, enjoying their day out, ran us ragged with some slick football, broke into our box and when it was easier to score managed to put it over the bar. This game was so one-sided it reminded me of the 'three pots in' game we played as kids when twenty outfield players ganged up on one keeper.

Thomas did manage a run into their box but his shot was blocked. Truthfully we were never in the game against an organized side playing some good football and we could have been four or five down by the break.
"This game was so one-sided it reminded me of the 'three pots in' game we played as kids when twenty outfield players ganged up on one keeper"

One of the comments at half time after such a display was “was it Ronnie Moores fault then?" Thomas, Gray, James and Paynter all seemed to be trying but it was breaking down every time.

The second half saw Hawkins come on for Richards, and he changed the game for us as he was prepared to carry the ball rather than hoof and lose it. He had some good moves and was linking the forwards up. Suddenly there was a long "OOOOOH" from the Ditchburn, who I thought was taking ill, but he had been startled by a great run from Gray, who from outside the box hit a screamer, which bounced off the post and into the net.

"Game on", we thought. Sure enough, after more pressure from Pools, Thomas, racing down the left and having some success, found Paynter in the middle, who slid the ball over the line. Two-all to the Hartlepool. The second goal lifted the team and the fans and Pools were straight back at them from the restart but shot wide.

An excellent phase of play by the visitors caught us out again. McLeod played in Stead, who scored, but was fortunately ruled offside.

Pools, pressing hard now, had at least three chances blocked or scrambled off the line by the organized visitors' defence. One in particular when, from the opposite end, I thought Paynter had scored again as he went down in their box, but the keeper had blocked his effort. 'Oates' came on in the shape of Featherstone for Woods, who once again was not moving too well. The tannoy rectified the substitute selection.

Just maybe Pools deserved a point for the second half comeback, but it was not to be. The visitors hit a winner as Carson went up to punch a ball and missed it, leaving Stead to head it home.

Defeat, but we did make chances in the second half due mainly to Hawkins' endeavour and the running of Gray, Thomas and James, who all looked dangerous running at the opposition.