More than Pools Deserved

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY at the ex-Vic

Pools 2 Accrington Stanley 2 (League 2) Tuesday November 20th 2016

It was a grim night for Accrington’s visit to the Vic after our usual pre-winter-weather hammering following the new moon. 

It looked like an end-to-end game early on but it was more of an edge-of-the-box to edge-of-the-box game as both teams only ever looked like scoring with shots from outside the area.

With our new-look line up it was obvious from the start that we looked suspect to the counter attack. Both teams were shooting well wide of the mark. Pools looked quite mobile attacking down the flanks but those attacks invariably broke down at the crucial moment.

One decent move from an Alessandra ball set up Deverdics, who tried to play in Amond, but once again some good defensive work by the visitors foiled the Pools attack.

For a long spell in the half it looked as if we were giving the ball away in almost every pass we made. It may have been that the visitors were reading our game too well but it was frustrating to watch each move up the field break down because of a too casual pass.

Laurent, turning on a ball, lost out in the tackle and gifted them a free run on goal but a rush of blood helped the Accrington man to hit the side netting when it was easier to score. The Ditchburn Poolie, who was visibly upset by our play made a comment on about fifteen minutes which went something like "That’s (£*$+^( awful we look like the {“+*}^&; visiting side rather than the [‘//?+* ]\;,)@&* home team.

The visitors did look more likely to score and the old Pools nemesis Billy Kee was putting himself about and only poor shooting let us off the hook. Carson made a great save but the attacker was ruled offside anyway, and Alessandra returned the favour, bringing a good save out of the Accrington keeper as the game settled and the players adjusted to the very wet conditions.
"It was not just one player, as nearly every one of them could have and should have been booked"

One half time comment was “shameful display” and quite a few were critical of Hignett. Not so much on his selection, more on the lack of a game plan. I told the Ditchburn at half time we would win this game, kicking down the bank in the second half with the wind and rain behind us.

The young loanee Martin we have from the Borer looks a canny player, quick and alert, and he made an impressive debut. The game lifted a bit after the break as both sides stepped up their game. Mattie Bates made a last gasp header to thwart an attack. Harrison Toto and Bates worked well together.

The story of this fixture will go down in history for the most exceptional circumstances I have ever seen at the Vic. Mr Wright, the man in the middle, will go down in folklore. He had not really given us anything in the first half as a very physical Accrington had grappled like Mick McManus throughout the half, grabbing at anything in a blue shirt that came near them. It was not just one player, as nearly every one of them could have and should have been booked for persistently dragging our players all over the shop as we challenged them or tried to pass them. OK, all players have pulled a shirt or two but to almost throttle a player in front of the official would at least attract a yellow card, I would have thought.

One of my pet hates in football is persistent cheats who try to con the ref, especially those that wear gloves. Accrington had just such a wuss in their side today and he screamed like a bitch every time a tackle was made on him. Well justice was served as Toto rose to a crossed ball in the box and brought a good save from the Accrington keeper. As the whistle went we thought he had blown against Toto but behind him a Pools man had been dragged to the ground as the cross came in. Mr Wright rightly pointed to the spot and a penalty was awarded.

The offender was sent off and as Amond went to take the penalty he made his walk back a long one and outside of the “D”, so a smart-arse Accrington defender moved and stood in the line of Amond's run up, all quite legal but a Pools player who I think was Featherstone tried to move the player out of line and as Amond made his run up the defender on the line tried to step in front of him again, Amond slowed his run waiting for the ref who finally booked the player, I presume for gamesmanship.

Amond took the penalty and it was blocked by the keeper. It fell to Alessandra who tried to push it in to the middle, then rebounded to Hawkins who took a shot which was also blocked, and finally dropped for Deverdics who spun on one leg and struck the volley home to give Pools a well-deserved lead for their approach after the break.

Just after the goal there was a really bad two footed tackle from an Accrington player that should have brought them another red card, as the red mist descended on them after going a goal down, and all hell broke loose in a free-for-all between the two teams. One player from each side was booked but it set a bit of fire in the bellies of the Accrington player who set about Pools in the dying minutes and came close on a couple of occasions as we tried to close out the game.

After one Hartlepool clearance late in the game a slip from Featherstone almost let them in, as an Accrington forward was one-on-one with Carson, who made a great one-handed save to foil the attack.

Pools went two up in the six minutes added on by Mr Wright. Pools, playing some neat passing football, ripped the visitors apart, setting up an easy ball for Alessandra to slot home to make it two nil to the Hartlepool.

More than we deserved after the first half but you have to give the lads their due, this game early in the season would have seen us dead and buried by half time, but the lads stuck to it and in patches played some really good football to give us three valuable points.