Showing posts from October, 2016
Home Alone

More rambling from JANE AUSTEN'S ALLEGRO 


Got to say this is 'bizz'arre. Pools are at home playing Sunderland under 23's (with proviso for six over 23 players to be included in the side) and I am here, sat at home writing this when I would normally without question be standing on the Town End Emergency Ward Ten terraces cheering the lads on.

On the plus side I am a fiver better off (Concession ticket) and not watching two sets of reserves play. Even Brad Walker has got a game. Like many supporters around the land I have Geoffrey boycotted this tournament as a matter of principle. By way of compensation to Pools I will purchase an additional lottery ticket at Saturday's game against Crawley and might even get something from the club shop. As the evening progressed I have tried to pick up the result from The BBC website but all I got was that in The Ferrari Packaging Lowland League the game between Cumbernauld Colts and Whitehall Welfare has been postponed. Probably due to Snow. Well it is the first week in October after all.

 As I write I have just got a newsflash on my mobile from Sky Sports. It reads Hartlepool United 0 Sunderland under 231 Cripes if it is the under 231's we are up against, Len Ashurst and Jimmy Montgomery must be playing. I have just re-read Sky's message it reads Hartlepool United 0 Sunderland Under 23's One.

I read that EFL are going to abandon a league divison five after the furore it has created among lower league fans. I did not realise that they were looking at allowing two Scottish Clubs to join league division five at some point. You could bet your bottom dollar that the two Scottish teams in question would be unlikely to be Brechin City or let's say Alloa Athletic but I could be wrong. Who comes up with these hair brained ideas? Game over and Pools lost one nil to Sunderland under pants.

The only upsetting feature about this fixture was I did not expect the crowd to be as large as it was at 1,295 with 450-odd coming down from Mackem land, who were probably all friends and relations of the players. I was hoping for a crowd of around five or six hundred top whack and if nothing else it would be the equivalent of sticking two fingers up at the organisers of this extremely sad competition. I noticed that Pools did not make any great concessions on the gate for this fixture so they will have pulled in a few bob which will cover the cost of turning the floodlights on. For my part then there is no need for me to visit the club shop or purchase that additional lottery ticket I mentioned earlier.


Over the last few weeks I was looking at how some of our ex players are faring with their new employers:
Luke James
Rhys Oates 
Scott Flinders  
Scott Fenwick
Jonathan Franks
Simon Walton
Peter Hartley
Anthony Sweeney

All the above players have been warming the bench for their respective clubs, however recently Scott Fenwick has started a couple of games but no goals so far. Fellow ex-Pools team mate Scott Flinders was dropped to the bench after a catastrophic display of goalkeeping in York's six nil defeat at Gateshead. He was then banned for 5 games for alleged racist remarks and a couple of weeks back I noticed that he was between the sticks for Macclesfield (on loan) facing fellow ex-Poolie Simon Walton in their game against Guiseley.

After several starts and one goal Rhys Oates is pretty much a permanent fixture on the bench at Gateshead. Much the same applies to Luke James on loan at Bristol Rovers, who I am led to believe has not yet scored for them. The enigma that is Jonathan Franks is sub or subbed every match at Ross County. I think he has only completed 5 full games though credited with over 30-plus appearances since his move north of the border. Mind, the same player has got himself a winner's medal ...coming on as a sub for the last five minutes in a Scottish Cup Final of some sort.

Peter Hartley seems to get his game for Bristol Rovers with a combination of starts and finishes and substitutions. Anthony Sweeney, prior to coming back to Pools as a coach, spent most of his time on the bench at The Heed.

COMPTON: Totally off the radar. Unless he is out injured or gone absent without leave - no sign of him even on the Newport bench. He'll probably end up taking a flier and end up playing for Airbus in the Welsh league.

Matt Dolan
Christian Burgess
Aaron Tshibola
Adam Jackson
Dave Mirfin
Jordan Hugill
Luke Williams  

All the above players are pretty much getting their games and are regulars with their respective clubs. Tish, a £2 million pound signing came on as a late sub the other week and got the equalising goal for Villa against the Mags.

Spot the difference between the two lists. The first list is that of players who have recently been released by Pools or have gone out on loan, most of which are not getting a game even at non league level. The second list are players that Pools have brought in on loan from other clubs, most of which are now first team regulars for their respective clubs, the majority playing in a higher division than Pools or their teams are pushing for promotion. Luke Williams might be the exception as I am unable to find his stats but he has played three games for Scunny this season and could possibly be out injured.
"...and we wondered why Pools have struggled for the last half dozen or so seasons."

Two players who broke the mould and have left Pools and done well for themselves, and are now playing in League One are Jack Baldwin at Peterborough and Gary Liddle at Chesterfield. Talking of Chesterfield, let's not forget Sir Ritchie, 39 next month and despite being a coach at the Spireites, made the bench for their game against Bradford. The most succesful loanee that Pools have ever had on their books has got to be James Coppinger, who recently clocked up 500 games in all competitions, mainly at Donny. I cannot believe that he is 35 years old.

 Goes to show that over recent years what many thought to be reasonable players at Pools struggled when they moved on, James Poole springs to mind, who has now found his level at Salford. These players were obviously not good enough and we wondered why Pools have struggled for the last half dozen or so seasons. Looking at the loanees that we have had, particularly under Ronnie Moore's tenure as manager, it was these boys that pulled out the stops when required.


I thought that I had inadvertenly tuned into Strictly Come Dancing last Saturday night when I witnessed a talented performer who swept everyone off their feet including the audience with his Twisting Pirouetting Jiving and Tangoing which left the competition all over the floor. Then I realised I had just watched Dimitri Payet on Match of the Day waltz around five Borer players before slotting home.
A ten from Len I am sure you will all agree. Some say Payet was doing the Bossa Nova but I think he was doing The Boss a favour (Another ten from Len?)

Funny Old Game


(Other than that, everything’s ok)

GREAT GRANDAD SHOUTY looks at the big (Sam) picture

Well, its been a fine old week, hasn’t it? Arising out of all the goings-on, its obvious that the FA, as presently constituted, have forfeited the right to be the guardians of the game of football.

That being so, what is to be done? The one thing we should avoid is to let politicians get involved; after all, expenses fiddles on their part show they’re not the people to tell others what to do. I’m also against the idea of a government – appointed regulator. In other areas of our national life, regulators have shown some weakness and the undertakings they’re supposed to regulate sometimes run rings round them. There’s always the danger that regulators can become too close to the people they’re supposed to regulate – so far as football is concerned, I can see regulators being showered with hospitality and free tickets. A cynical old fool aren’t I?

My solution is drastic. The activities of The FA and Premier League should be suspended and placed in the hands of a three person panel – appointed on a voluntary basis or through legislation. The panel could be presided over by a retired High Court judge and be composed of a senior retired police officer and one other. I suppose the retired police officer could be drawn from the ranks of the FBI; after all, they were the ones who dug up all the stench surrounding FIFA. Not sure about the third member – definitely not a retired banker!

The panel’s job would be to sort out everything that’s wrong with the game of football with no time limit set on their activities. Their job could include examining every transfer into the Premier League and could also extend to pricing and programming of games. Drastic – but necessary. The beauty of the panel is that they wouldn’t be under the control of anybody and would be genuinely independent.
"only three clubs have scored more goals than Pools but only Yeovil (19) have conceded a greater number."

What about the Football League? There are obviously clubs in The Championship who would like to get their snouts in the trough; as things are, though, most of the scandals arise from Premier League transactions. The biggest crime of the Football League is inefficiency and nothing is more obvious than the Checkatrade Trophy. As cock-ups go, this was monumental and fan boycotts seem to be the order of the day. Looking through the games played on 30th August, seven games had gates of less than a thousand. Fleetwood achieved a grand total of 392; Accrington 585; and Wimbledon managed 461 – there’d be more stewards and police than fans. Even at Pools, there’s talk of boycotting the games and donating the price of the tickets to the club.

So far as I could see the JPT Trophy had a reasonable structure – why bother changing it? I remember last season’s JPT tie against Sheffield United. A good turn out from Blades’ supporters and a game that went to the wire with a penalty shoot out. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Thank our lucky stars the proposals for re-organising the Football League have been dropped. I love the atmosphere of League Two. In most cases, there’s a bond between the fans who love supporting smaller clubs and I like the idea of announcing the number of visiting fans who travel to The Vic and the subsequent appreciation from Poolies. Quite a few hardened souls who make the trip from a long way away – particularly the 55 who came up from Newport. Just think of it, those 55 certainly were entertained.

Once again, Pools have the good and the bad. After the Grimsby game, only three clubs have scored more goals than Pools but only Yeovil (19) have conceded a greater number. One of the problems is that we seem to have a sick parade (throw in the odd suspension) of centre halves. Let’s hope that we can sort this out.

Nathan Thomas seems to enjoy away trips and I suppose its all about the extra freedom he gets away from home. With the home teams being more attack minded, Thomas gets the necessary freedom to torment opposing defences. At home, opposing defences are much tighter hence less freedom. Still, with two good results against high flying Plymouth and Luton it can’t be all that bad.
Hope we don’t have to wait to long for a home win!

The sad death of former Arsenal and Manchester United striker, David Herd, at the age of 82, brought to mind a little bit of Pools history. In the final game of the 1950-51 season Pools played an away game at Stockport County. Included in Stockport's line up was father and son - Alex and David Herd. Stockport won 2-0 with David Herd scoring both goals. RIP.

Finally, something to be complimentary about and it concerns the compassion shown to Bradley Lowery by Sunderland and Everton. The Merseyside club’s donation of £200,000 towards getting life saving treatment for his cancer restored the faith in human nature. Well done, Sunderland and Everton!
Things are Definitely Improving

WAGGA MOON tells it like he sees it

Things are definitely improving at The Vic but one home win in five months is a worrying statistic. Although Craig Hignett appears to believe the root cause of inability to see a game out is some crap referees we are getting, the shortage of goals would seem to be a more plausible explanation.

This is a bit of a conundrum as this season we have more strikers on the books than for the last ten years. However if you take two strikers, Tom Heardman and Bradley Fewster, on loan from higher division clubs and give them about ten minutes playing time in a month we are not going to find out whether they can do the job. And it is likely to piss off their parent clubs seeing them warming the bench week after week.
"why sign them if we don't want to play them"

If these clubs are good enough to lend us young players we should be playing them. Certainly before William Paynter whose game now revolves around falling down, getting up and having a go at the ref which is very annoying to the Pools fans and the ref himself. Of our other strikers Padraig Amond runs around a lot but is not a natural goal scorer. Louis Allessandra had a decent scoring record before coming to Pools but has done nothing while he has been here. Rhys Oates has been shipped out to Gateshead despite never having a run in the team as a central striker, his preferred position. Lewis Orrell hits a hat-trick for the reserves but still hasn't had a look-in.

That leaves Nathan Thomas, and what else can you say about him? Quite simply the most exciting player Pools have had for the last 30 years. Fewster did well at York on loan last season scoring a few goals for them whilst Heardman is something different to what we already have with his size and movement, and why sign them if we don't want to play them. It is like going back in time when Tubby Turner would regularly make loan signings and leave them on the bench.

Still that's enough on Tubby, I am getting a headache just typing his name. He would never have made a manager even if he was put in charge of Man United with a £900m. budget. Our opponents on Saturday, Grimsby, have a big striker Omar Bogle who was playing non-League last year, and so far has eight goals this season. So the strikers are out there and they are certainly not missing Amond. I expect Toto Nsiala to shine against the Mariners as he is going to be a top centre back in a few years time. I look forward to him pairing up with Rob Jones as they could become one of the division's best pairings. We look to have found a real player in Liam Donnelly, who has played with distinction at right-back, left-back and centre-back. I think he could do a good job in central midfield as well and would step in for Featherlite's suspension with no problem. Apparently signed on chief scout Tommy Miller's recommendation, we look forward to a few more like him coming along.

Finally I must come back to Scott Harrison. Apart from an award to Hignett for the most baffling decision of the decade to give him another contract. He has had a quicker than expected chance thanks to Toto's suspension and Sick Note Bates taking the longest time known to man for being out with a bruise to his foot. And did Scotty make the most of his chance? I am afraid not. Absolute garbage, and a sending off to boot. Although whether his second yellow at Home Park was for kicking the ball away or being unable to control the ball due to having the first touch of a rapist is anybody's guess. 

From our Motoring Correspondent

BILLY'S CONTRACT ticks off Grimsby

Grimsby Town 0 Pools 3 (League 2) Saturday October 1st 2016

Never been to Grimsby. Ever. It's not all that far away, unless of course you are walking but one way or another I have never ticked Blundell Park off my list of visited grounds. It could have been that I had something else booked on the day or that I did not fancy driving back from Grimsby on a wintery February night.

I did some homework and upon checking the records of games played at Blundell Park against Pools since 1967, the year I started following Pools, we have, excluding last Saturday's match, only played them in all competitions eleven times. I could not believe this either. I did not get my first car until 1981 so that's the first fourteen years of not making the journey accounted for. Not surprisingly they have been playing non-league football for the past ten years and even when they were in the Football League we never seemed to be in the same division as each other.

Mind, I did very nearly got there in March 2004. For my birthday (I forgot the number) The Bride had got me one of these Red Letter Day presents to drive five classic British cars around Mallory Park racing circuit near Leicester. There were three different Jags. An E Type a D type and an Inspector Morse type. And another car which I cannot recall the make of (Chartham?*), which seemed to consist of a engine from a Supermarine Spitfire which was enclosed by half a dozen bits of scaffold tube and held together with pieces of Meccano. The icing on the cake for me on the day - oh, just remembered that I don't like icing. so the ice cream on the jam roly-poly for me was getting to drive an Aston Martin DB6,  my all-time favourite car. The plan was to stop overnight in Leicester then having done my Jeremy Clarkson bit head off in the general direction of Grimsby a mere 90 miles away just after 12.00 hundred hours.

As usual things did not go as scheduled. By the time I had got myself kitted out and had my health and safety induction it was almost ten a.m. so the clock was ticking. Although not a car buff as such I certainly had an enjoyable time. You were paired with formula 2/3 racing drivers who acted as your mentor and guided you round the track. It is very nerve wracking when you are driving at 80/90 mph and they are telling you to accelerate further, when your natural instinct is to brake, particularly when the bonnet of your E Type (which seems forty feet away from the drivers seat) is less than quarter of an inch from the boot of the car in front. Although I was having a ball I was concious of the time passing very quickly and I almost considered skipping the last event which was being driven two laps round the circuit by a Stig-like character in an AC Cobra.

Don't know what speed we were doing as the speedometer was intentionally disabled, so the driver did not know what speed he was going at. All I can say is that the drive only seemed to last a matter of seconds, and all I can remember was the noise of the thing.

With the race day completed later than planned, we dashed to the car park, set the coordinates for Grimsby and fired up The Rover (British Racing Green of course), and unlike most Rovers, it started first time. We worked out that with a fair wind we should reach Blundell Park just before kick off. After just over half an hour on the A46, what with average speed cameras, single carriageways, road works and different speed zones,plus a car accident (probably caused by the confusing speed limits), we decided to abort the journey as we reckoned it would be nearly half time before we reached our destination. With that we reset the co-ordinates to 'Up North' and listened to the match on the radio (yes it was one of those posh Rovers) and laughed out loud when we heard that Neale Cooper had been sent to the stands for throwing his towel down on the touchline after a doubtful refereeing decision. Pools won two nil. Happy days. As we headed home I felt gutted at having missed the match and I also had a sense of disappointment about my car track experience.

They say you should never meet your heroes as they are not what they seem. You should also apply this same logic with relation to the car of your dreams. Yes the Aston was great but not a patch on the the E-Type. Fast forward twelve years on and by chance after the Luton game my mate mentioned that Pools' next game was Grimsby away and the decision was made there and then to head to East Linconshire. We parked up at Blundell Park at 12.30 hundred hours. Both my mate and myself still deafened from the 10/12 mile concrete section of the M180. even with Tom Waits turned up full blast on the CD player we could not hear him sing due to surface noise, it was like being in the AC Cobra again ...but a lot slower.

We took a bus down to Cleethorpes and asked a very friendly Police woman (so friendly in fact that I thought that she must be a stripagram). to direct us to Steel's Cornerhouse Fish and Chip Restaurant which had come highly recommended to me. We were not disappointed either. You got three choices of Haddock, small, medium and Moby Dick. What is it with Yorkshire/Lincolnshire folk with haddock? If you ask for cod they look at you as if you have two heads. You very rarely see cod on the menu in that neck of the woods ...or should I say sea.

We then repaired to a nice quiet pub on the pier a mere hundred yards away from another pub full of Poolies chanting away to their hearts' content and surrounded by a considerable police presence. The rear of Grimsby's main stand looks like an industrial unit and you would be forgiven in thinking that due to the large Young's Fish logo (A shrimp) on the cladding, along with all the air conditioning units etc on the roof, that this was not a football ground but a fish processing plant. At once in I fell in love with the plaice ...sorry place, and instantly nominated it as my favourite ground. In the last few weeks I have visited such noble establishments as Windsor Castle, Castle Howard and Cragside in Northumberland, but Blundell park just smells of history ...especially the toilets. The cistern was a steel tank. if it was dropped on your head from more than four inches it would cave your skull in. If you were making a documentary about football in the nineteen thirties, this is the ground that you would bring your film crew to. (Granted you would have to rip all the seats out of it). Like Chesterfield's and Donny's old grounds it just had bucket loads of character and would put some of these so called modern stadiums (Scunny/Northampton) to shame.

Grimsby started the match strongly and unlike Pools instead of playing tappy tappy, after-you Claude football, they were whipping the ball into the box at every opportunity and had Pools on the back foot. After less than five minutes of play Jake Carroll put in what looked like an innocuous tackle on their winger who went down injured. At first I thought the lad was play acting as most wide players do but after what seemed to be an age he left the field on a stretcher. There is a picture of his injured leg in the Grimsby evening paper. Horrific, not one for the squeamish to view, it looks as though he was hit by a mortar shell. It did looked like an unlucky accident as none of the Grimsby players protested and Carroll was not spoken to by the referee.
"If you were making a documentary about football in the nineteen thirties, this is the ground that you would bring your film crew to."

Pools got all their goals on the break and wouldn't you guess that Padraig Amond would score not once but twice against his old club. Fair play to the lad he did not celebrate and indeed was deservedly applauded off the pitch  by both Pools and Grimsby fans alike when he was subbed. I cannot recall another Pools player who has scored in his first season against his former club.

 Again on the break Nathan Thomas scored with a wonderful chip (not another fish shop reference) which I thought was going to land on the top of the crossbar or worse, for their goalie to tip it over,  however, in it went much to the delight of the travelling fans behind the goal. To be brutally honest, apart from the goal and tracking back we did not see much of him. As usual the goalscorers take the plaudits but for me man of the match was Trevor Carson who made two world class saves like Jimmy Montgomery's in the FA Cup Final against Leeds, as well as producing another stunning save in the first half. Which must have been 'Sole' destroying for the Grimsby team.

I agree with Craig Hignett's after match summary when he said that that although Pools were clincal in front of goal our distribution let us down. In fact for the majority of the second half we played deep, played on the break by hoofing the ball up front from defence hoping that one of the forwards would latch on to it.

I would like to see Deverdics get a run in the team in midfield. I think it looked stronger and quicker without Nicky Featherstone and not as defensive. In the match against Luton, Featherstone gave four back passes to Trevor Carson in as many minutes. Even though we were short on midfielders it was noticeable that Brad Walker did not even make the bench, which seemingly speaks volumes. He should be shipped out on loan somewhere .

One player who performed exceptionally well was Jordan Richards who managed to get a goodly number of crosses in the box which is something he has failed to do in recent games. Pools had a great following of around 350 souls who were very vocal throughout. On the down side some clown set off a blue flare after 'Pools got their first goal which, apart from being a safety issue, could have interfered with play to Pools' detriment if the blue smoke had impaired Carson's vision. Against Luton another bright spark threw a coke bottle at their keeper. I cannot understand how no one was picked out of the crowd by the stewards for this incident as after all there are CCTV cameras in the ground. If this behaviour persists Pools could end up with a hefty fine or worse still, a points deduction.

All in all, a grand day out and we had a 'Whale' of a time. After all that, I still haven't been to Grimsby, as Blundell Park is in Cleethorpes. Is there more than one Cleethorpes? Cleethorpes is plural.

(* Caterham 7, which was previously known as the Lotus 7 Ed.)

Funny Old Game

A Great Game

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the ex-Vic

Pools 1 Luton 1 (League 2) Tuesday September 27th 2016

Late again to the Vic tonight and once again some joker was standing in my spot. The Ditchburn Poolie has to get his act together when I am running late.

Speaking of which, the Ditchburn was complaining about the chant from the Luton fans, I could not make it out but it sounded like “Come on you Lutties".

Thanks to the return of Jake Gray to the Vic we lost the toss and they turned us round, which proved a bit of a disappointment to them as they were a goal down late in the game and kicking towards the Town End when they were battling for an equaliser and possibly a winner.

 It was a brisk start to the game by both teams. According to the oracle (Ditchburn) they had lost their star striker to a red card in the previous match as we had lost the services of both Harrison and Magnay. Amond and Thomas linked up very well and almost got the early goal but Thomas shot over under pressure. Thomas was playing well and once again, up against one of his old teams, he was turning it on.

One early run he made finished with a fantastic ball into the box but no other Pools player had followed him in. Another great ball was sent in by the much-improved Richards, who sadly is still getting stick from some home fans. Richards won a corner, and after an almighty scramble when it looked like every player was in the box, the ball was pushed wide of the Luton goal. A Donnelly ball into the box looked as if it was handled but nothing from the man in the middle. Another great cross from Thomas found Amond but he was bundled off the ball and Laurent following up hit the ball over the bar.

Luton looked like a decent side and played the ball around the pitch, coming at Pools with pace, but the lads held their nerve and played some great football themselves, really taking the game to Luton. It was a great game of football to watch - at least in the first half - with both sides making chances.

Alessandra made a fantastic quick turn and hit a low shot inside the box that the keeper managed to smother. Just before the break Pools were pressing at the Town End and Hawkins, who had a brilliant game, picked up a ball on the edge of the box and hit a belter that the keeper could only block, and the ever-alert Thomas stormed in to hammer the ball past the keeper into the net. One nil at half time was just desserts for a strong Pools performance during the half.
"Carson was up to anything they threw at him, making some crucial saves"

Pools kept up the momentum in the second half with Luton getting a little rattled, and started to get more aggressive in the tackle, trying to unsettle the lads. Toto made a great block on the line as they came at us in numbers. This was possibly his best game at the Vic. Amond will never come closer to a goal without scoring, he cruised across the box and hit a shot that came off the post with the keeper dead on his feet, and Thomas hit the rebound wide of the goal.

Then things started to go a little awry when Featherstone was sent off for a foot up. It looked a nothing challenge but seeing as the visitors had brought their own ref, the outcome was a red card for the Pools player. It did not matter to the official that Thomas was flattened twice in the centre circle when trying to break upfield, and both times the ball had been twenty yards away. There was a yellow card brandished but that was two sending off offences that went unpunished.

Featherstone started as captain tonight, and on leaving the pitch he handed the arm band to Thomas, who was subbed later and handed it to Toto - quite a merry go round. Donnelly made a fantastic last-gasp tackle in the box to rob an attacker and clear the danger. It's a shame we will lose this lad for a couple of games while he is on international duty.

Luton managed to hit the post but Carson was up to anything they threw at him, making some crucial saves. Jake Gray was subbed but he had not done a lot, and with a succession of late subs the game became a little scrappy and undisciplined.

Thomas was up ended on the edge of the box and the ref actually booked one of his own players. He evened things up shortly afterwards giving a free kick out wide of the box. While he paced it out the ball was moved to the left a couple of yards and an unstoppable shot flew into the top corner, giving Carson no chance.

The ten-man Pools did very well making a game of it, with some good individual performances. Toto made a great block as he dived in to block a low shot, they claimed handball but it was ball to hand this time.

In the ninety-seventh minute, Carson made a fantastic diving save to keep a point for Pools. In the next attack he managed to kick a ball away as he was going down but the rebound was hit over the bar as the final whistle was blown.

One sad sight was a bottle thrown at the visiting keeper, which hit the net and dropped behind him. He tried to throw it back so I hope it cancels out the original offence and we do not get penalised.
Funny Old Game

Should Have Walloped 'em

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the ex-Vic

Pools 0 Mansfield 0 (League 2) Saturday September 17th 2016

Rumours of trouble coming with the visit of Mansfield today were rife and the police were out in numbers in Church Square but happy to say there was no clash of opposing fans. 

It was a fine day for football and a decent crowd. Pools won the toss and in the first Pools attack Thomas was causing panic in the visitors defence. Alessandra also made a good run into the box but his shot was deflected for a corner.

Harrison and Toto both worked hard at the back to cut out any threat from the visitors but clean chances for either side were hard to come by. Pools seemed to have the edge over the visitors as they pushed them back. One chance fell for Laurent through a chip in by Paynter but he managed to scoop it over the net from close range. Pools bossed the game for long periods of the first half but just could not get the ball into the net. Sixty one percent of the possession was mentioned at half time. Wonderful stuff this technology we have today.

Although we looked comfortable and the set-up seemed to work well, it was worrying that after all the possession we barely had four chances at a goal.

Second half we came at them again, Donnelly, playing down the left, looked like an old-fashioned wing-back as he chased ball after ball played down the wing by Alessandra and some wonderful cross-field balls from Toto.

I spoke to Millhouse Sid on the way to the ground and mentioned a few players but he was not entirely impressed with the manager’s signings. One comment on Featherstone was “he needs to get into the game a bit more.” Well if Sid was not impressed with the lad's performance today then he needs to stop at home. Featherstone for me was Man of the Match.
"Mr Handley made so many bad decisions that he really needs to find another career."

Pools did score a goal that was ruled out and no one around me could tell me why, although a photograph later showed Thomas to have been offside when the initial header came in and he managed to get it into the net.

Laurent was unlucky having a good shot blocked in the box and he managed to get a second shot off which the keeper palmed over the bar. Paynter sadly looks slow now, not sure if he is unfit or just getting past it, but he had a glorious chance to set Pools up with a goal when Thomas put the ball onto his foot and Billy managed to fluff the chance with only the keeper to beat. This was Paynter's last action as he was hooked immediately for Amond, who at least is a lot more mobile.

A rare chance for the visitors was thwarted by Carson, chasing out and spreading himself in front of the attacker to block his effort. Thomas sent in a corner late in the game that Laurent should have connected with but the ball skimmed past the back post, but the lad is improving his game.

It has to be said today’s officials were poor. Mr Handley made so many bad decisions that he really needs to find another career. When in a challenge for a high ball, Thomas nearly had his head taken off by a scissor kick and the ref gave the free kick the other way. Thomas was expected to get some stick today and he did. Chopped down on nearly every run.

The linesman down the Mill House side had a 'mare too as he was obviously colour blind and could not even distinguish a yellow shirt if it was stuck up his nose. The ref tried to redeem himself when the Mansfield players had a juggling contest rather than getting on with the throw in. When warned by the ref the player holding the ball started taking the pee out of the official and pretended he was jogging backwards to take the throw from the right spot but was just jogging fast on the spot. The ref finally pulled out his card, it is sad to see a team timewasting with nearly half an hour left in the game.

Pools should have walloped this lot today but sadly only one point. We need to start winning at home. It looks as if Hignett is getting close to having the side he wants and you cannot fault their effort today. We lost Magnay early in the second half but Carroll played well when he came on, and Magnay's injury looked a bad one.
Any Other Business


Well, as has been said by more than one person of late, the 'green shoots of recovery' are certainly visible. 

The demolition of Grimsby must have give the team confidence, even if some of that was taken away by Sunderland in the Joke Trophy game. Let's hope those green shoots grow and burst into bloom next spring.

The Big Sam incident just showed how people can lose touch with reality the higher they rise above the real (i.e. ordinary) world where people may have no money but know what is right and wrong, and what is fair or unfair. 

Just like MPs who fiddle their expenses, and billionaires and companies who pay no tax, once they cease to be an 'ordinary' person, it seems that many lose their moral compass and can justify almost anything. While very few of us would advise our employer's clients on how they can get away with breaking the company's rules, there are those who don't appear to worry about such things.

And since those who are in a position to do something about it aren't in the real world either, there's not much chance of anything changing soon.

While Pools are gradually improving, Boro and Newcastle have swapped divisions (and it's looking as if they could do so again), the one spark of consistency can be seen at the Stadium of Light, where the Mackems are once again struggling in 20th place, or bottom in ordinary parlance.

David Moyes' days are surely numbered in what is possibly his last Premier-level job anyway. He reminds us of Brian Little, who, after starting his managerial career at Darlo (when they were a league club), had early success with Leicester, moving to Aston Villa, but then his jobs became progressively more lowly until he disappeared. A quick search showed that he is now the Jersey manager, which we would hope doesn't mean that he guards the pullovers being used as goalposts.

With four red cards in a few weeks, this has not been a good time for Pools to be losing people, particularly with injury-prone defenders to worry about.

At least it has in part enabled Higgy to shuffle the players about and get closer to a first choice team, so perhaps it's been a blessing in disguise. How else would Liam Donnelly have been able to show he can play in so many positions?