Too Lightweight Up Front

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 2 Sutton United 3 (National League)
Saturday 27 October 2018
Victoria Park

A good chance to set our selves up to challenge the top six was wasted today.

The first ten minutes looked promising as we played some decent football and had the visitors on the run. Muir got an early chance but the keeper blocked his shot from a couple of yards from the line. Sadly this optimism did not last long as we allowed them to settle into the game.

The visitors were a well-drilled side and they did what we didn’t - getting into our faces and closing us down every time and robbing us of possession at every opportunity. We can only blame ourselves as the passing was poor and we have difficulty picking up the second ball when it is hit high. The strong wind did not help either side but Sutton seemed to get to grips with the conditions better than we did.
"Sutton seemed to get to grips with the conditions better than we did."

A bit of a tussle in front of the dug out between Kitching and an attacker ended up with a free kick to the visitors which was a poor decision. The resulting free kick led to a corner and Sutton scored their first goal, which was a bloody shambles for the Pools defensive unit as the ball was lobbed in and dropped between a flurry of players either trying to kick it in, catch it or kick it out, and it seemed to take an eternity for a foot to actually touch the ball with legs swinging in from all angles and Loach on the floor scrambling to get a hand on it, but it was a Sutton boot that slid it over the line.

Pools went back into their shell as the goal lifted the visitors, who were a good side and attacked in numbers, overrunning our midfield. We could not hold onto the ball and when we did we looked to be lacking in ideas. James and Muir were having to play too deep. We only had the odd chance to get into the box but we looked ineffective and little threat to the visitors' goal.

In the second half Pools were gifted a corner - the ball was never out but they say these things even themselves out over a game. I am just wondering how 60/40 is even. This time it did work with a copycat goal for Pools after a couple of minutes when another goal mouth scramble led to Muir slotting home a ball that was pinging around the box. Noble got a second, it was reminiscent of the Neil Warnock goal from yesteryear when he hit a ball into the top corner from the corner flag. This one of Noble's out wide of the box took a touch on a defender but it was still a goal for Pools.

After taking two goals in three minutes Pools stepped up their game, again taking the game to Sutton but they were the team who played the better football and created the better chances. Sutton drew level after a quick break and even though we had a couple of clear cut chances the ball was blazed wide of the mark and another over the bar as Pools were desperate to get some thing out of the game. Not shy in the tackle the ref seemed to be very lenient after Davies was brought down in the box and Luke was continuously dragged down or tripped every time he made a run. The ref bottled a sending off after an already-booked player blatantly took out Luke as he made a run. As the Ditchburn Poolie said, he is going to get hurt badly in one of these games as the lad is too brave for his own good.

Sutton got the winner ten minutes from the end and they deserved the win. They are probably the strongest side we have seen this season and it was a well-worked goal after some nice play across the box. The shot was curled round Loach who had no chance to stop it.

Bates put on Woods and Dinanga, far too late in the game to make any difference. We need to learn how to pressure teams and not keep giving the ball up so easily when the pressure is on. Sad to say despite only losing three all season we have not done enough to justify a playoff chance. We need to string a few decent games together and of course sign a good striker as we are too lightweight up front.

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