As I Suffered It

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 1 Leyton Orient 0 (National League)
Tuesday April 17th 2018
Victoria Park

It has been a bit like a baby coming, all the effort and slip-ups we have suffered this season came to a climax last night as Pools made our National League position safe with three games in hand.

I was confident right up to the kick off when in the first five minutes the visitors could have had at least a two goal advantage. We were obviously affected by the stress of the situation when we could have been relegated again, we were awful for most of the first half. Players just shoving the ball away in panic. No one player able to hold onto a pass and get our game going, long balls just hoofed up field and snatched up by Orient who just took us apart every time. It was poor shooting that let them down as the approach play was slick, neat and dangerous. It must have been at least twenty minutes before we even had a shot as we just could not get out of our half. We managed to get one corner and Woods, who looked out of sorts, found Cassidy in the box but the effort was blocked. Woods did take a bad knock in the first half but he has not looked that fit for a few games now.

"Laing has his doubters but he was magnificent last night, not only getting the goal but his heading in defence was fantastic."

The Orient side were good in attack but once again the number of times they went to ground in simple challenges was shocking; even later in the game when Pools did pick up a bit you had players at the other end of the pitch going down just to stop the game. The ref was just as bad as any other we have seen in this division; in fact this feller tried to make it all about himself, calling the two captains together midway through the first half to tell them to calm it down. If only these jokers could realise that if they refereed a game evenly and fairly they would not cause so much grief during the game. A push in the back from any player is a foul but apparently if you had a red shirt on last night you were given a free pass.

On a rare sortie Cassidy broke through but collided with the keeper and the chance was lost. Out of the blue we managed a goal which we thought was never going to come when Woods took a free kick and Laing guided it over the Orient keeper into the goal. Shocked and delighted, Pools fans went mental. The way we had played up to that point I honestly thought it was all over for us and we would be slipping down once again. This goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Orient as they had pegged us back for so long and we cruised to half time.

Woods, who had been booked in the first half and was struggling, did not make it out for the second half and was replaced by Oates who can always take the game to the opposition. His speed was a factor as he chased people down at both ends of the pitch and certainly rattled a few nerves in the Orient defence. I have to say that Laing has his doubters but he was magnificent last night, not only getting the goal but his heading in defence was fantastic. With the visitors attacking the Town End, in the second half he won every ball that was lobbed into the box, He was my man of the match.

We had a bit of luck when a screamer of a cross beat Loach but it skimmed across the goal, touched the underneath of the bar and flew out wide of the goal and was cleared. Once again the visitors hammered us but we withstood the pressure. Hawkes, who was being watched by Peter Beardsley of Newcastle United, did not have his best game but still looks a class above in this team.

Rodney came on for Hawkes and was booked for his first tackle, then was sent off in extra time for another offence but this ref likes a card or two. He even sent off the Orient manager after a conflab with the fourth official. It was like a Paul Daniels magic trick as he went off the pitch and stood in the end of the tunnel that two stewards had partially dragged forward to protect him from the fans. He thought he might get away with it till he was spotted and the two stewards drew the tunnel out then shot it straight back as Edinburgh disappeared while the ref was making his way over to make sure he left the field. This trick probably looked better than it sounds here.

The visitors still looked favourites to get a goal as they came back strong at the ten man Pools side. Against a side like this it was glaringly obvious that it is no good playing Hawkins at fullback. It is not his fault but he wanders into the middle and leaves us exposed down that side. The pluses, apart from the win, were that Newton covered every blade of grass in his effort to collect the points and Loach again made some great blocks.

Lets hope we can send the fans home happy on Saturday with a relaxed game of football and another win which will probably relegate Torquay once again.