Couldn't Break Them Down

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 1 Eastleigh 1 (National League)
Saturday 15 September 2018
Victoria Park

Hoping to extend the run Bates turned out the same team again with Woods once again on the bench. 

We won the toss and played up the bank for the first half towards the fifteen travelling Eastleigh fans. The estimates before the subsequent announcement proved the point that the people I stand with have no idea what is going on down the other end of the pitch; the Ditchburn Poolie was the closest with his count of twenty-one, but it later transpired he was counting a carrier bag flapping around the terrace.

As early as the eighth minute the visitors gave us a warning and could have taken a lead with one attacker drifting late into the box and rising unchallenged to head the ball down and Scott Loach made a magnificent dive low to his left to push the ball away.

Pools settled and some of the best football we have seen for a long time was on show. It has to be said this will be the first report where the ref will actually get a plus point, but blotted his copybook late in the second half when Luke should have had a penalty from the run he made into the box. We had carved out a brilliant chance for Noble to strike but his shot was saved by the ageing ex-Gunners striker Stack. The wily old keeper applied all the tricks throughout the game ,especially in the second half when they were running down the clock.

Minutes later Noble tested the keeper again after some great football between McLaughlin and Kitchen but the keeper palmed Noble's shot over the bar. I was in the process of winding back my camera to show the lads this save when I looked up to see Donaldson set up Muir who fired Pools into a well-deserved lead. I missed the shot.

We played some good football but could not break down another very physical side. Donaldson pulled up after having a brilliant half and looks as if he has a hamstring problem so I hope he is back soon as our attack seemed to stall once he went off.
"We played some good football but could not break down another very physical side."

At half time there was rumour of an altercation in the tunnel with a Pools player being  poked in the eye and an attempt to head-butt him by the visitors’ keeper. At the final whistle there was a commotion around the dug outs by both sets of players and sundry others. Noble was being led away but was attempting to get back to the keeper who was also being restrained [Have a look on the video on the Pools Supporters' website.]

The chap next to me, a stranger, said by the looks of it you have got a 'homer' this time. I said that if so then he makes up for all the shiners we have had already this season. On the first half showing he could have been a homer as he did book one of their players but one was not enough after some persistent breaches of the rules.

In the second half once again Pools seemed to lack that final threat to kill off the game. Loach again was called on to make another magnificent save at the start of the half. Kitching went close skimming the bar with a beautiful cross-come-shot and he was winning headers for fun, but the grappling visitors carried on their spoiling tactics.

The full back Jones was allowed to run through the heart of our defence from his own box and no one was able to stop him, which led to their goal. Both teams were making mistakes and the game became a bit more ragged as both sides used the long ball, which only benefitted the tall visitors who worked hard to save a point.

Kitching had a great chance of a winner late in the game but his effort under pressure was wide of the mark. The Man-of-the-Match accolade went to Noble but any one of six could have taken the honour. It was mentioned by those wiser than me that we need a big striker to help get the upper hand in these games against what looks like inferior opposition at times.

Cassidy looks to be out of favour but Luke needs some help.

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