Coming Back for a Point

Match report by POOLIE IN NOTTINGHAM at Gresty Road

Crewe 3 Pools 3 (League 2) Tuesday August 16th 2016

I was really pleased when Crewe finally managed to get themselves relegated from League One after a few seasons of near misses. A proper club that play in a proper ground (which is easy to get to by train), close to plenty of pubs/restaurants/takeaways, with friendly fans. In short, one of the first aways I looked out for when the league computer spat out the fixtures in June.

I left home at about 5 to pick up Big Mark, a fellow Poolie who lives about a mile from me. The aim was to get to Crewe in time for some scran before kick off. Thankfully the roads were nice and clear, and we were parked up and in the kebab shop by about 7. A tasty lamb shish was swiftly despatched, although I did struggle to eat the salad part gracefully - the plastic fork provided had very short tines that are probably ideal for stabbing chips, but no good at spearing shredded lettuce, onion and cabbage. Big Mark did the decent thing and left all his untouched.

A quick stroll round to the ground, and the now commonplace purchase-a-ticket-from-a-booth procedure was in operation. Pools have had a few teething problems with theirs, but Crewe's was pretty slick and we were soon in the ground. First port of call was the bogs, which featured a few stickers from fans of different teams slapped here and there. The best one was extolling the virtues of Scunthorpe - 'When God created Scunthorpe He was showing off' - maybe showing off about what unsightly mess He can make maybe?

We took our seats on the half way line which gave us a good view, particularly of the massive main stand opposite. If you've never been to Gresty Road, it's hard to describe the ground. The best I can think of is that if you were sitting in the Cyril at the Vic, instead of the Mill House Stand in front of you, it was the Kop. Slightly disproportionate to say the least.

The game kicked off and it was clear that Crewe were quick and clever, keeping it on the deck and moving it round smartly. Not much happened until Thomas played through an amazing ball for Paynter to latch on to. He should have scored or at least hit the target, but the post was shaved and the chance had gone. Not long after that a mix-up in defence led to a Crewe shot hitting the post, although from where I was sitting it looked like Carson had it covered. It should have been a warning, as the Crewe number 22 (Kiwomya), went off on another run and crossed the ball in for Dagnall to touch home. Bugger.

Thankfully Pools' heads didn't drop, and it wasn't long before we were level thanks to a beauty from Magnay, cutting inside and unleashing a curling floater into the top corner. Sadly Kiwomya was still up to no good, and just before half time we were behind again.
"There was still plenty of time for Pools to hoy it away, and we nearly did it"

Half-time discussions all seemed to agree that there would definitely be more goals. Andy Ramalamadingdong and their lass Marg popped up. I explained that we hadn't won at Crewe in years, to which Andy replied that her presence at the York game last season had resulted in that hoodoo being put firmly to bed. A wave of optimism came over me at that point, so I expected better than the start to the second half.

Sadly it wasn't to be. Crewe really had their tails up, and every time they got the ball forward they looked like they might find the killer ball. Their third was pretty sloppy to be fair, a cross which drifted in without a touch, that Carson possibly could have done better with. Not long after they missed a golden chance to get a fourth, when a free header was placed wide of the open Pools goal.

Somehow Pools decided that they would try and right some wrongs, and a bit of a lucky bounce let Amond in to pull one back. Suddenly we could sniff the prospect of an unlikely point. Magnay popped up at the back stick with a well-placed header and we were level! You could almost hear the gasps of shock from Crewe fans above the roar from the jubilant Pools fans.

There was still plenty of time for Pools to hoy it away, and we nearly did it when a Crewer found himself unmarked with just Carson to beat. Thankfully he muffed it wide, and Pools hung on for an undeserved point. We could have even strolled off with all three, but a free kick on the edge of the Crewe area was deflected just wide.

I fully expect Crewe to be up there come the end of the season, but I'm not sure about Pools. Too much sloppiness in defence, a lack of urgency in playing the ball forward quickly enough, and a lack of strength in depth will probably see us in mid-table.