Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 2 Maidenhead 1 (National League)
Saturday 18 August 2018
Victoria Park

A chance for the lads to give us a lift today as the visitors were in a worse position than we are, one point from the games so far. 

I had been so confident against Harrogate - we got whupped - then the draw on Tuesday did not help after Pools led all the game then threw it away again on a dead ball situation.I spoke to the lads around me and kept a straight face when I predicted three points today. I am not superstitious but the last two home games I went in the left-hand turnstile so today I swapped sides and at the last two games I had given H’Angus a slap on the nose for luck, but today I pulled his left ear - at least I thought I had but he told me that I had used my left hand and pulled his right ear, so just to double my chances I went and pulled both his ears. See - you should never try and get one over the simian!

A good sign was the unchanged team and we won the toss, and made a decent start. The first attack from the visitors won a free kick wide of the box and Loach made a great job of pushing the ball over the bar; it looked as if it had started life as a cross and the wind held it up making it difficult for Loach to make a clean save. A speculative shot from Kitchen seemed to surprise their keeper who blocked his effort but the resulting corner was too long. It was end to end in the first half with some shocking tackling, if you could call it that, from the visitors.

I suppose we have to get used to this type of fare down here in the dog-end of the Football League; is it too much to expect the officials to protect players as this was a shocker. At times it looked more like a Friday night rumble in Church Street after closing time than a sporting contest between gentlemen. It also has to be said that we really must stop hoofing the ball up the field to possibly the smallest striker in the league as he takes some awful stick from the giants of the league; he is like a tiger in the challenge but like a rag doll at times as he gets thrown to the ground by every player he side-steps.
"A good sign was the unchanged team and we won the toss, and made a decent start."

We are capable of playing some good football, the link between Muir, Luke and Kioso looks very good at times but it has to be fed to their feet not wasted in the long high ball.

Ryan Bird started for them but he looked too heavy and was subbed just after half time.

Second half started with a bang as Luke opened the scoring with a lovely low headed ball across the goal that had the keeper grasping at air. It was possibly that he caught the big defenders out cold at the start of the half. Loach played a quick ball down the line that Muir flicked onto Donaldson who sent in a low cross that Luke stooped to conquer, heading across the box into the net.

Featherstone made up for his earlier mistake by taking a great ball from Woods and chipping the keeper to make it two nil. A curious situation arose with ten minutes to go -  Pools were running the ball into the corners. I do not like that and neither do the fans who vented their anger at the spectacle; it only puts pressure on us. We managed to see it out but it was not pretty to watch.

There were some desperate decisions by a very poor official who seemed to let a lot go but only one way. Woods was booked after winning a ball and the defender actually jumped into him after the ball had gone. Late in the first half Luke was chasing a ball to the dead ball line at the Rink End and the defender grabbed his shirt and pulled it over his head and not a word was said to the offender.

Once again defending a dead ball left us wanting and the visitors scored with a corner to the back post It. could be said that we had too many bodies in there as everyone was back and the ball was headed past Loach making it a desperate last ten minutes plus four injury time minutes added on.

There were some good performances and Kioso was Man-of-the-Match again. Donaldson had a better game as did even Anderson. Luke battled for everything and both Muir and Woods did very well. Featherstone had a blip again when he turned into his own half and was robbed of the ball causing pressure on the defence.

OK at the end of the day we have our first win in four but we really need to step up on this win and start to pressure teams at the Vic as they look as if they are turning up and have lots of confidence. We need a fortress Vic.

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