Out of Sorts

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY and LOL MORAN at the ex-Vic

Pools 1 Leyton Orient 3 (League 2) Saturday October 22nd 2016

The problem with statistics is they never seem to tell the whole story. According to statistics we should have got three points today and we got trounced. 

The visitors were below us in the table but getting results away from home, and Pools were also getting more points away than at home but seemed to have a slight edge if you go by statistics. The same statistics tell us we have had one defeat in the last six games yet another statistic says we have lost seventeen points this season after leading in games. Those seventeen points would have put us in the top three.

The talk on the terrace today was obviously about how long you should give a manager to get it right. I am still a fan of Mr Hignett but I know I am in the minority after listening to some of the fans today. The Sunday afternoon game on the 6th of November could be his Waterloo no matter what happens away at Barnet next week.

So many players today looked out of sorts. We battled towards half time under a lot of pressure, snatching an undeserved goal at the death. Ok I may be a little harsh, but to be honest the set up of the team today never ever looked like it was going to produce a goal. The good point of the goal was it might give the scorer, Laurent, a bit of confidence in front of goal.

The midfield just did not work at all today and not down to individual players, more down to the set up of the side. Both teams gave the ball away easily and Pools were often running down blind alleys or going square all the time. There was no driving force in the middle of the park and we lacked ideas.

Orient were a fast-paced side and only poor finishing stopped them from taking the lead on a couple of occasions when they hit the woodwork. Toto put in a brilliant run that set it up for three Pools players to have a chance to score but Alessandra, Amond and Thomas all failed to hit the target, but it was a great effort from the big defender.

The Pools goal came after a corner when Alessandra sent in a cross that Hawkins headed back in and Laurent, close in, pushed the ball past the keeper. The lead was soon cut back in the second half when the ball was squeezed beneath Carson who, on his day, would have had no problem with a ball like that.
"The Sunday afternoon game on the 6th of November could be his Waterloo no matter what happens away at Barnet next week."

From then on it was all Orient and it was plain to see why they play so well on the road. They attacked with speed and in numbers and we chased shadows for the rest of the game. Two more simple goals followed and Orient were time wasting with twenty minutes to go.

Criticism was aimed at Hignett when he took off Amond and replaced him with Paynter, which only made things worse. Hignett has to take a good look at his team and decide on a system that stops us from shipping goals, gives us a midfield that can hold the ball and carry it forward, and at least make an effort to ensure that whichever pairing he uses up front has the opportunity to at least have a shot on goal, as those statistics may just prove to be the end of his career at Hartlepool.

I was intending to come up to the Hartlepool Folk Festival, but discovered that Pools would be at home to Leyton Orient, so I planned that into my very busy Saturday at the festival.

But when I discovered that an old friend would be performing with his singing partner, whom I had never seen, from 4pm to 5pm, I decided to divide my loyalties and leave Pools after 65 minutes then dash round to the ship and catch the second half of the concert.

So on the day I went to a couple of concerts in the Trincomalee, then one in the Town Hall before the three-minute walk to the Vic - which became a ten-minute walk to the ticket office at the Clarence Road end of the Town End.

I had earlier agreed that I would write a match report so Running Monkey could have a day off, other than helping me out with the bit I'd miss. Of course I realised that if things went badly for Pools after I left, then I would get the blame for jinxing them from Running Monkey and some of the other Monkey Business contributors. Luckily for me on that point, Pools were already losing before I left.

As I approached the Wingfield Castle, just an Asda and a railway away from an inaudible Vic, a check on my phone revealed the score was now 1-3, which was both a relief and a disappointment at the same time. It meant that I didn't have to have my eyes glued to the phone all the way through the concert, only most of it.

The concert itself was very good, and the evening concert at the Town Hall featuring the Young'Uns, the Wilsons, Vin Garbutt, a few others and a brass band, all performing songs by local writer Graeme Miles, was one of those events you will always remember - like Cardiff!

In the end Running Monkey did a report to which I could add little, and with hindsight I should have given Pools a miss completely, saving money and seeing two other folk events that I'd paid for. Putting a finger in my ear would have been preferable to putting my hands over my eyes!