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.