Pools End the Run

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the Vic

Pools 0 Northampton 0  (League 2) Saturday February 27th 2016

First omen for the day was that Frank Reid, the Pools fan that has never seen us win this season, was clicking his shutter at West Ham. The second one was that we won the toss and kicked up the bank in the first half. The third one was that the Ditchburn Poolie had brought his grandson, who is of Swedish origin and who pointed out that Pools were warming up in his national team's colours of yellow shirts and blue shorts.

It's sad when you have to clutch at straws like this to help change your team’s performance. But don’t knock it, some of the cross dressers in the terrace on a match day will use any excuse. We even had a group of Dutch Hartlepool supporters complete with their Hartlepool neckerchiefs, made in Holland specially for their visit.

The Ditchburn Poolie was unusually confused about today’s official, and could not make his mind up over two different Marks, one was Haywood and the other I think was a Hayworth, but all I got from him today in advice was that one was crap and the other was ok but he could not tell me which was which. As the officials warmed up I asked him which one it was, but he was away with the mixer as the third official was a lady. Now I have seen the Ditchburn in a rage, in high jinks and even deep depression, but only on three occasions have I seen him in a stupor and the last was the last time this lady ran the line. He was besotted and was even going to change his allegiance and go and stand in the Mill House for a better ogle. Good job he didn’t, as the lady called in sick at half time after giving some dubious decisions against Pools.
"Unexpectedly we ended a run by the top team in the division and put in a really good all-round team performance"

The game itself went off like a fizzer as Northampton attacked us in well-drilled numbers, pushing us back into our own half with some swift attacking football. They really switched the ball around looking for openings. Pools, after adjusting to the speed of the game, did go close with a shot from Luke. Paynter took one in the face as he was coming deep to help stem the tide but this was a game for both defences, who had to be strong at the back. Magnay in particular was strong as the Cobblers were a good side and you could see why they had gone ten unbeaten.

There were long spells when the visitors held the ball or we hoofed it back to them as the pressure got to us, but despite their attacking flair their shooting was abysmal. Luke and Thomas and Grey took the game to them and Grey should have had a penalty when he was brought down on a run into the box. Luke was wrestled to the ground continuously but sadly the official never saw it throughout the game, yet there were more head tackles than in the televised rugby game later.

For some reason Walker was taking the free kicks and never tested the keeper once. Pools stepped up a gear in the second half, attacking the Town End and once again the wingers were making headway against the visitors, both Luke and Thomas having some success down the flanks, which in turn eased the pressure on Pools.

A Thomas cross dropped agonizingly close from Paynter at the far post and the ball hit the keeper and trickled the wrong side of the post. Walker was a bit lethargic today and had one great chance on the edge of the box which needed that extra touch, and instead of shooting he was caught in two minds and rolled a poor ball in for Luke, who struggled to get to it and the chance was gone.

It was a tight game and Pools defended well against a strong team, and I think Carson only had to make one real save. Unexpectedly we ended a run by the top team in the division and put in a really good all-round team performance and thoroughly deserved the point, if not all three.