Start of October

JANE AUSTEN'S ALLEGRO responds to recent events


I was fully expecting Pools to comfortably beat lowly Barra (who had not won away from home), by at least three goals and build on the Woking result and start another unbeaten run going. 

As per usual Pools started off ponderously allowing Barra more of the play and we did well to go in at half time at nils a piece, If the first half was turgid the second was even worse. Players not able to string a couple of passes together, playing deep and side to side without creating much.

It suddenly dawned on me why we were playing so poorly, as at one stage we had eight players in the side, (I will, though, exonerate Rodney) who were involved in last season's relegation and boy did it show. Deverdics is not a full back and Scotty Harrison is still lacking in confidence, The midfield was, well, the midfield - albeit Woods put a shift in. Up front we once again looked light.

The crowd was beginning to get hostile and started booing the team. The first murmurings about Craig Harrison's managerial ability and tactics were being voiced by many on the terraces. If Barra had scored late on the knives would have been out for Craig Harrison big style. Many, myself included, began to believe that he was going to be content with a point and keeping a clean sheet.

I was expecting the 'Harrison out' chant to ring around the Vic but it does not have the right meter although someone did shout 'Harrison this is embarrassing' which did have a bit of a rhyme to it.

Barra created and squandered numerous chances compared to Pools but their poor finishing let them down. On another night they could have easily scored four. Luckily, Woods got a late winner and all the dreadful football played by Pools was soon forgotten as another three points went on the board.

At the end of the game I genuinely felt sorry for the semi-professional side and their fans as, when the final whistle finally went, many of their players fell to the ground or held their heads in their hands as they knew that they had put in a decent shift and had come so close to getting a result ...and were basically robbed.
After later quaffing a pint I was satisfied with the three points and tried to forget the performance, but for a fleeting few seconds began to wonder if Craig Harrison might not be up to the job.
"I was expecting the 'Harrison out' chant to ring around the Vic"

A couple of laughs at this match included a delay whilst one of the linesmen apparently felt unwell and had to make a dash to the loo. Whilst the game was held up for five or six minutes and the fourth official got ready to take over from the 'poorly' lino, the Tannoy suddenly burst into to life and the club announcer said something like "Whilst the officials are sorting themselves out, birthday greetings to Tommy Atkinson. (or whoever), who is 25 today'. Only at Pools. This was greeted with howls of laughter by the Poolie faithful.

A few minutes later the fifth official held up the board and from I where I was stood it looked as if, instead of having seven minutes of additional time displayed, seventy minutes were shown. As one wag said "Pools would still need longer than that to score".


I was greatly disappointed by the FA Cup draw, not so much by being drawn against a very in form South Shields, but by having to play away. Had Pools gained home advantage, I would have anticipated a money-spinning crowd of around 6,000 plus if the club allocated part of the Mill House stand to the Shields fans.

Another downer is that Pools will only be allocated 400/500 tickets for the game at Mariners Park so here's hoping for an 'F.A. Cup draw' leading to a replay at the Vic. One worry is that if  the South Shields manager took in the Barrow match ahead of the forthcoming cup clash,  he must have gone home very confident.

Shields, unlike Pools, play to a high tempo and won't give our static midfield and defence time to dwell. This will be a real test of Craig Harrison's mettle and I am hoping that he does not field a side comprising of a mix of youngsters and reserves as I think the first team will have a job to do a job on them, let alone a weakened side