Numbers Game

Match report by BILL THE BIRO

Solihull Moors 0 Pools 1 (National League)
Saturday 08 September 2018
Damson Park

For the second consecutive Saturday I went to an away match, this time just up the road, so it was an easy trip to plan. Set off at 1pm, pick up two mates and be in the Damson Park bar at 2pm.

That was the plan but I didn't allow for horseracing at our local track. I've twice been caught out when, on my way to Pools matches at MK Dons, I lost an hour due to the Warwick races traffic, but you don't expect that when just picking up your mates in your own little town. Anyway, judicious use of local knowledge and satnav got us into the bar before 2:30 - and reminded us of the equally long wait we'd had at the bar last year.

We bumped into several of the Midlands Poolies we might have expected to see before decamping to the shelter of the away end since the rain decided to make itself felt just as the match was about to start.

Pools, with McLaughlin in for Woods, were up against a somewhat larger side, who soon showed why they were up with Pools in the league table. They were alert and quick on the break and Pools couldn't make much headway against them, although neither side really caused the keepers any trouble in the first half.

"Pools did enough to win without showing the sort of quality their league position might suggest"

The big incident of the half, on 20 minutes was the sending off of the Moors' captain, although we couldn't really see what had happened on the other touchline through the murky rain. However, as often seems to be the case, that didn't seem to make much difference to the balance of play.

Shortly afterwards it was noticeable that Liam Noble's shirt was showing signs of distress. The "O" from his surname had disappeared and his squad number was peeling off. Could this be anything to do with the rift between Pools and their kit supplier?

The half-time exodus to the bar was thwarted ...because despite it being a match day, the bar was being used for a wedding!

In the second half Pools gained domination, perhaps due to their one-man advantage, the loss to injury of one of Solihull's best players or the change by Pools to playing it along the ground, and Pools had lots of chances before Noble got the winner.

There was a 5-minute spell when Pools gave up moving and just tapped the ball around in the middle, which was boring to watch but no doubt served some purpose. Pools saw out the match comfortably to rise a place in the league table, with only one example of into-the-corner timewasting being required.

Near the end we were all amazed to see Luke James fall over yet be given a free kick. And even more amazed when Solihull's alleged perpetrator got a yellow card for not touching him.

Much as the previous week at Havant, Pools did enough to win without showing the sort of quality their league position might suggest, but who's complaining?

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