Fantastic Team Effort

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the former Vic

Pools 2 Newport 2 (League 2) Saturday August 27th 2016

Today Pools moved into the space age as all season ticket holders used the new /second hand ticket bar code scanning machine. I just hope this is going to cut down on long queues whenever we have another big game. Today I congratulate the club, as it was a swift and painless entry to the Gas Vic.

The Vic was festooned with flags today, carried by the military veterans, led by the worshipful Mayor of this parish Mr. Rob Cook. At least he is one of the councillors who support the lads, and I am a friend of his wife. Pools were signing a deal of sorts to back the military but I did not hear all that was shouted out of the Tannoy as I am in the area where the young girl has to come round and tell us if we have won the half time Pools draw or not.

Once again I met my friend the Ditchburn who put the willies up me [not literally] relating stories about the man in the middle today, Andy Haines, who apparently is still enemy number one in Derby where after one of his performances they organised a campaign to have him struck off for incompetence. If Pools fans did this every time we had a dodgy ref then we would never have time to watch any football.

Today’s visiting team was led by none other than Sir John Parkin, remember him? He was a lump and a half and still is, but because of his walking pace today he lasted the full ninety-nine minutes. Also on the bench was Jack Compton the experienced former Pools player who warmed up quite a bit and gave a wry smile to the Town End fans who welcomed him back with their special greeting. I say experienced in the loosest term as the lad is twenty-three-ish and has had twelve different clubs so he should be good. He did get on late in the second half and like his time at Pools, he disappeared. Obviously Compton, not being on the pitch, did not advise the visitors to turn us round at the start so we quite happily accepted to go down bank in the second half.

I have never seen Pools have a start like today, as we literally waltzed up the field and Featherstone hit a ball across the goal and into the net. We were still celebrating when Mr. Haines decided to slap us down by sending off Toto for a handball just outside the box. He in truth had little alternative as Toto spotted Parkin getting into the box behind him and making a stupid school boy error he slapped the ball down. It was deliberate, and it cost him his place in the side and undid the early luck we had had with the Featherstone goal.

Craig Hignett is either a very brave manager or a fool. I think he played a belter by not bringing a sub on straight away. OK we went one all from the free kick that followed but he adjusted the ten men we had on the field and went for them. I have just checked and the first sub came on with fifty-seven minutes on the clock, when he took Paynter off and replaced him with Harrison, but for most of that time we had the beating of the Newport side. The mismatch in size between Featherstone, marshalling Parkin, made no difference and the Hartlepool player had a blinder against him. Pools players were playing in a lot of alien positions as the team was adjusted, Thomas at one point was covering the left back position as Paynter came deep and Featherstone covered for Toto.
"I have never seen Pools have a start like today"

Jordan Richards had the game of his life today, just when we needed it. He was strong in the tackle, always pushing forward and his dead ball kicks were excellent. He even hit the bar with a shot that was deflected with their keeper beaten. Pools turned it on with Thomas having some excellent runs that always took at least two defenders to stop his progress and not always legally. A lovely move upfield between Thomas, Woods and Allessandra was scintillating football which sadly ended with a shot inches wide as they cut through the visitors' defence.

It was a powerful display from the ten-man Pools. It had to be sod's law for the big feller to score, and you have to give credit where it is due; Parkin latched onto a ball just outside the box, turned and hit a volley towards Carson, who could only manage to palm the ball onto the post and into the net giving the visitors an undeserved lead. Pools never gave up as Newport came at us again and again and a breakout saw us win a corner. There seemed to be an age before the ref allowed the game to get under way as he twice walked into the box to separate players from dragging each other around. Amond managed to shake off his marker and an inch-perfect corner was headed past the Newport keeper to make it two-all just before the break.

The second half was more even with both teams creating chances and both wasting them. Thomas, Woods and Paynter all went close as the ten-man Pools took the game to the visitors. Ten minutes into the second half Paynter was subbed to allow Harrison on to soldier the back line as Newport started pressing. This was a strong display from Pools who in the past would have undoubtedly succumbed to the kind of attack, especially being a man down, but this Hignett side is a different class and I think we can look forward to some good displays like this in the future.

For me Richards was man of the match but there were some great performances out there today and a fantastic team effort.