Rather Them Than Us

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 1 Torquay 1 (National League)
Saturday April 21st 2018
Victoria Park

It has been a long season, and we have struggled despite being one of the two teams tipped to bounce back. Both Pools and Orient have struggled and it has been very hard to watch at times. So what, we are Poolies; we are used to the never-ending struggle of our club.

In fact today at half time comments were made about how enjoyable the continuing relegation problems of the past were, when we had to wait for our “friends” to come to our aid and vote us back into the league. Seems a life time away now.

As we now languish in the National Conference League we can thank our lucky stars that this season we did not slip even further down the ladder. We still have a team to support and we now have a new owner so we should at least last one more season.

Today's game looked to be a little easy end of season last home game as the visitors were having even worse luck than us, sitting in the bottom four while we were flying high after a couple of results went our way.

I sensed a visible bounce around the Vic as the pressure is off and it showed in the approach of the lads, well at least in the first half. With Magnay and Woods both sidelined we only had one senior player on the bench and a bunch of kids proved the point of how thin our squad has been this season.

The bounce I sensed was there for all to see in the first half as we took the game to them, playing some very good football. The ref lost the plot with two cards shown early on, Newton on four minutes and a Torquay player on nine, I suspect just to even it up as he had made a hash of the Newton booking. Not only had he lost the plot he also lost his soul. OK, a pun as he had to leave the field to change his boots when it looked like one sole was hanging off.

Oates, who still does not look 100% fit made a great run and managed to get a shot in that the keeper blocked. We were playing some quick one-touch football and the visitors were on the rack. We had a bit of luck when a shot from Donaldson was deflected past the keeper and Pools got the early start we needed.

The ref just had to level things up when an attacker backed into Laing and feigned a challenge in the box and the ref pointed to the spot. It is a sad reflection of this division when you see players week in and week out going to ground for the merest touch , which not only riles up the fans but spoils the game as a spectacle. Will we ever get back to watching a fair game of football with two teams battling for honours instead of the pack of cheating barstewards we see turning up week after week?
"Once again the OTHER POOLS TEAM turned out for the second half."

Loach made a great job of stopping the penalty and deservedly so. He blocked  the ball and the rebound was hit wide of the goal. The visitors had the odd success but their shooting was always wide of the mark or Loach, playing a Man-of-the-Match game stopped everything. Munns came on for Newton early in the half as Newton had taken a bad tackle down the Millhouse side for which the Torquay player had been booked. Munns even had a cheeky lob at the goalkeeper, who managed to get half a hand on it and it was cleared.

Once again the OTHER POOLS TEAM turned out for the second half. Once again we back-pedalled after being so much in control in the first half and it was our turn to panic, hoofing the ball away and watching it come straight back again. A good job Loach was on form as he made a fantastic leap to push a ball over the bar with one hand as the screamer was heading for the net.

The saddest sight of the day was to see the lino flagging for a foul down near the dug outs as the young Cunningham, replacing Oates and making his debut, was shown a red card for what looked like his first tackle. The young lad slid in, knocked the ball away and the player fell over him and a red card was brandished. It was a sickening piece of very poor officiating as the visitors surrounded the ref shouting for a card. Everyone was up off the bench and Oates even went onto the pitch trying to get at the ref but fortunately he was restrained. We have had to suffer all season with people like this turning out poor performances and ruing the game of football.

The sad part was this team were there for the taking after such a good start and one fan late in extra time said to me "these buggers are lucky enough to get a bloody draw here." I looked at Sid and asked him where he had been as they already had the draw from having scored after the lad was sent off but it had been coming as we were on the back foot for most of the second half.

I do not like to feel happy when you see a team relegated but sod that! Rather them than us is now going to be my motto, as there is no joy in losing.