A Great Team Performance

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the Vic

Pools 3 Dagenham & Redbridge 1 (League 2) Saturday March 12th 2016

Dagenham, sitting at the bottom of the division just two places behind Pools, had only taken three points out of the last nine games but experience tells us that you never count your chickens. Teams at the bottom often throw up a torrent of explanations as to why they are in a false position and invariably throw up the odd unexpected result to help their situation. 

The “Never Say Die” tag we carry was borne out of such perennial desperation to rally the troops and the fans in long months of turmoil and desperate football throughout our club's history. Even in times of success we have come up short at the last gasp. I do not travel to games but I remember going to Scunthorpe on a wet dismal day and getting stuffed four nil by a side packed with quality loan players yet we were promoted the same day - which at the time came as quite a shock to the incumbent manager. Another game I managed to get to was at Rushden and Diamonds, and again some quality loan players pipped us at the post and took the title.

I won’t comment on the Cardiff trip as due to circumstances I was the only Poolie left in the town on that day, Even though I was not there I have a theory that the powers that be colluded to exclude little old Hartlepool from ever getting into a lofty position such as the Championship. Sour grapes you might say but I still hold with that theory when you look back on that game, Sheffield were the chosen ones. Sorry about this little journey into the past - as you get older you hanker for the old times, but in this case I will stick with the status quo and just as every Pools fan does year after year just go with the flow.

The point I was trying to make was in the situation of the bottom six clubs our position does not look so bad, Not entirely out of the woods but after the last two games looking better and the team playing better which is all the Pools fans expect.

The Ditchburn Poolie  informed me that once again the ref for the day, Mr. England,, was a substitute but thought that he had been to the Vic on one other occasion.
"the visitors ...just could not cope with the Pools onslaught"

The visitors today seem to have taken on the bad luck most of the bottom teams get, a penalty against them in the first five minutes. A definite pen as Luke was literally dived on in the box and had the life squashed out of him (not literally).

Paynter takes his tally to twelve and Pools settle and play some good football. From where I was at the opposite end of the field I thought Paynter then doubled his tally as he raised a hand in salute but the goal was given to Carroll who had got the touch needed on the Thomas cross to make it two nil to the Hartlepool.

Two early goals really set up Pools and gone was the hoof ball of the past and some slick football was produced as we got stuck in at the visitors, who just could not cope with the Pools onslaught. Jones looks an accomplished no-nonsense player, and despite his lack of games he fitted in well at the back and was prepared to go up front, coming very close to getting on the score sheet with a header just wide of the post. He did go off at half time after taking a clattering late in the first half.

The goal the visitors scored really came out of the blue as most home fans were just expecting the tight Hartlepool defence to break up the attack. The lad picked up the ball on a break and made his way across the field and hit a low bobbling shot that skimmed past Carson, which shook up the Pools side a little. Buoyed by their success after being on the back foot for most of the half they started to play a bit and Carroll made a great block right on the line to deny the visitors a second goal.

The Ditchburn, who is normally very dour at half time, is reminiscent of Fraser from Dad's Army, claiming "We're doomed I tell you, doomed", was half breaking out into a smile and commented that the first half had been very entertaining. I did give him a hard toffee to suck on and to keep him entertained until I got back from my half time walk about.

Despite us kicking down bank in the second half, all the action early on was in the Rink End as the visitors hammered our goal looking for an equaliser. A break out from Gray was magnificent as he raced down and across the pitch, and hit a low shot the Daggers' keeper had no chance with, and Pools were flying again, three one up.

The second half was even better than the first with both teams having chances. I thought Paynter was certain to score again as Thomas tortured two defenders, got to the by line and hit a low shot into the box that Paynter just failed to turn into the net. Hawkins is growing in stature after his goals last week, he gets stuck in and was stamped on close to the dead ball line in the Town End but was able to carry on.

This was a great team performance albeit against one of the bottom sides, but we still have to beat them. Some of the Pools football was great to watch as we had only previously seen very brief spells of great attacking football this season.