The Green Shoots of Recovery

GREAT GRANDAD SHOUTY has another look at Pools and beyond

OK, so we haven’t won a home game yet – but there are encouraging signs. A more than competent performance against Colchester (a side fancied for promotion) , a slip against Notts County and a fantastic performance against Newport County.

Throw in the win at Exeter (winning after the home side took the lead) and the fight back against Crewe. Before this season, what would have happened if we’d gone 3-1 down? It doesn’t bear thinking about. My mate in Crewe reckons that both sides went hell for leather in trying to get the winner and the punters went home reasonably happy.

Up to now, Pools are well up with the leading scorers – Luton (10), Pools and Doncaster (9 each) , Morecambe and Colchester (8 each). The goals against doesn’t make such good reading - Stevenage (12), Accrington (10), Pools, Grimsby and Cambridge (9). Still, at least we know where the problems are and how to deal with them.

Against Newport County, it was probably the best Pools' performance for a long time and I don’t think there was a single complaint about the shift the players put in. Just think – a goal from Pools, the sending off of Tota Nsiala and Newport County’s goal and this was just the first three minutes. I imagine that Jeff Stelling must have thought the place had gone mad.
"Still, at least we know where the problems are and how to deal with them."

The referee, Andy Haines, didn’t have much choice in sending off Nsiala but his general performance throughout the game left a lot to be desired. Fouls by Newport County, particularly against Billy Paynter, went unpunished and you were left wondering what the hell was going on. Refereeing these days is a nightmare – new laws brought in by FIFA only make for more controversy and they’ve effectively ruined a lot of what is good in the ‘beautiful game’. None of this excuses what is the bleeding obvious in a game and I’m sorry to say that Mr Haines fell far short of what is expected. As soon as the final whistle went last Saturday, my grandson and I left the Niramax Stand to the loud cheers of the Pools faithful. On reaching the bottom of the steps, the cheers were replaced with loud boos. My grandson burst out laughing and said “Well, they’re not for Jack Compton!”.

On to other matters and I wonder if the speculation about John Terry coming back into the England side were a cynical attempt to take attention from the Olympic medal winners. If it was, it certainly made the headlines. This weekend sees the start of the qualifying games for the 2018 World Cup. Scotland, of course, are in England’s group so that’s two interesting games at least. The Radio 5 and Daily Telegraph pundit Roddy Forsyth, got his sly dig in when penning an article for the Telegraph. Writing about The Tartan Army he said, “… the Tartan Army will resurrect its optimism for the World Cup qualifiers, Wembley and all. And as they flick through the record book, they might note that Scotland have played Iceland on six occasions and won every time. Now, not every country can say that” Ouch!!

And, of course, we shouldn’t forget that at last Pools have had some recognition in the international stakes. Trevor Carson has been called up to the Northern Ireland squad as their number three keeper and now Liam Donnelly is in the under 21 squad. Fortunately, we are well covered for Trevor Carson’s position – Adam Bartlett is more than a competent deputy.

P.S. Wish the computer would serve up a better distribution of fixtures. Two home games on the trot followed by two away games on the trot. Bad programming!!