First League Home Win

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the ex-Vic

Pools 2 Cheltenham 0 (League 2) Saturday November 12th 2016

After the cup win last week Pools fans were hopeful that we could now do the same in the league but the visitors were on a roll having a run of nine unbeaten games.

The visitors turned us round at the start and after a perfectly observed two minutes silence the game was on. They had their fair share of tall players but quite a few shorties too but none as big as Toto.

There was a good pace to the game as both sides played some good football. Toto nearly always has at least one blip and he got caught turning on a ball that was whipped away from him and they nearly caught us out but the shot was poor.

Toto was caught again and it was only the offside flag that saved us after the Robins had the ball in the net but it looked an easy move that allowed the shot on goal. We had to be aware of the fast breaks from the visitors.
" was good to see the teamwork which has been missing at home games"

Carson had flown into Newcastle only that morning from his international duty and was able to play but sadly he had to go off after he had blocked a shot and went to smother the ball, and from the opposite end of the pitch it looked to me that the defender had jumped in on Carson. OK, he has the right to go for a loose ball but not to kick it from hands. We really did not expect Mr Salisbury to make a decision. The word is that Carson has to have an X-ray on a possible broken finger.

Bartlett was a very good deputy for Carson and looked very cool under pressure. Our form dipped a little half way through the half but they never looked like breaking us down as Toto and Bates held the back line and Featherstone darted everywhere clearing up. Just before the break Pools were lining up very well and attacking in number led by Alessandra. Deverdics and Amond were stringing some really good moves together and Hawkins, who is improving game on game, looks a class act on the ball.

With Donnelly, Featherstone and Laurent all pushing the team forward,. The game was running down to half time but both teams were challenging hard for the brea it was good to see the teamwork which has been missing at home gamesk-through and it was Pools who got the goal after a great move from midfield. Alessandra hit a great shot on the turn to make it one nil to Pools at the break, and on balance I think we deserved it for the effort the whole team had put in against a dangerous side who on their day could have overrun us.

 As I was walking back to my spot - I was just left of the Town End goal - when a sliced clearance from Toto went spinning to the top corner of the goal and I was ten feet from Bartlett as he made a spectacular dive and managed to palm the ball away from the goal for a corner.

The second half saw Pools keeping the pressure on a desperate Cheltenham side trying to preserve their unbeaten run. They were so desperate to get an advantage they were taking the mickey out of the man in the middle by just going to ground in every tackle and appealing and sure enough the ref just obliged them. I just do not understand this cheating attitude that is prevalent in football these days but I have led a rather sheltered life.

A second lull in the game for Pools in this half gave the visitors hope and they tried to rattle the Pools players with a lot of elbows being thrown and a centre half who thought throughout the game had to grab every Pools player around the neck. The sad thing is it took about eighty minutes for Mr Salisbury to get a card out on him.

Alessandra, who for me was Man of the Match, sent in a great free kick onto which Bates managed to get a head and make it two-nil to Pools, which calmed the nerves of the fans at least.

In the end Pools ran out easy winners with what I would call the best home performance of the season. OK they had chances that they did not take but today we played some very slick football, and against a lesser team we could have had four or five from the chances we created. Yet still after the game there was moaning about us papering over the cracks.

As you can see from the pic, one of my pet hates is seeing players gaining a few inches by placing the ball outside of the chalk on the corners. I walked over and took the pic of this player who was not a happy chap as, along with the crowd jeers and me leaning over the barrier, the ref came over to check that the ball was in the right place, but never said a word to him. Which is what we expect of the officials we get at the Vic.