Up for the Cup

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 1 Kidsgrove Athletic 0  (FA Cup, Preliminary round)
Saturday 22 September 2018
Victoria Park

Pools begin their cup campaign against Kidsgrove Athletic F,C. who are currently three divisions below Pools. I was expecting us to win four nil having just watched Gateshead win four nil against Dunston Town F.C. on the tele before going to the game.

With other punters in our merry band who complain about having to endure troubles with travel to games, until this season I have been very lucky. Living a five minute drive from the ground I have often walked over just for the exercise. I have even tried public transport which is not as regular as one would like. Usually I get a lift over from the sprog who never has any real urgency to get to the Vic early to see the lads warming up, have a natter with the fans around and get a spot on the terrace.

One of my pet hates is people who turn up for the odd game throughout the season and take your space on the terrace. This happened at the last home game and I and the Ditchburn Poolie and the rest of the crew were moved back two steps, although we got our spot back at half time. This week for the cup game I wanted to make sure I was not going to be shunted out, so as we passed the balls roundabout today, once again we were held in traffic as it was backed up all the way to there from the crossing near the new Costa on the Marina  and was moving at a snail’s place.

I got out of the car and walked the rest of the way as the Ditch was there waiting for his ticket. This is happening more and more as the crossing is a request stop so you get dribs and drabs of fans parking on the Marina and using the crossing which in turn clogs up the roads in the area. So any council official reading this - get it sorted now!

I made it to the ground and as I was early, thankfully our spot was free. It was sad to see Poolies expecting to get in the ground with their season tickets and whinging because they were turned away at the turnstile. Either they have not read the rules or they have borrowed a ticket expecting to get a freebie. All the same they should know better.

When the teams came out I was surprised to see the size of their keeper - at least I thought he was a keeper but it turns out he was a centre forward. He was a roly-poly all right but not only him as they had their fair share of fatties in the team. Even the sight of these players filled me with confidence. I remarked to the Ditch that these lads can’t possibly do any training judging by the size of them.

I could not have been more wrong concerning the striker; he ran the game. He was over weight but still had a lot of skill and guile. Late in the  first half he pirouetted on one leg and hit a wonderful shot that Loach managed to palm away but it was probably the best shot of the game.

I think we all were glad to see an early Nico goal from a low shot across the box just to settle the nerves. Bates has been criticised about his selection and game plan but his record speaks for itself and today playing wing backs with a back three it looked as if we were going to overrun the visitors. We did create a couple of good chances Luke tested the keeper with a shot and both Davies and Noble had chances that were never put away but that was the closest we came as the visitors gained in confidence.

We had some decent spells in the first half but once again no real threat. This game should have been all done and dusted in the first half and we were waiting for them to tire in the second half but that never happened. It has to be said that overall I thought the visitors had been the better side; they may have had some heavyweights who fell like trees at the slightest touch but having been down the divisions longer than us they know how to con a ref. OK this feller was nowhere near as bad as some we have suffered this season but he did get conned which makes it look as if he was biased against the home side.

The second half seemed to be a long drawn out affair as we stuttered,  gave the ball away far too easily and Kidsgrove came at us at speed on the break and we were lucky to hold out against them. We only made the odd sortie in the second half as they marked us out of the game and overran us in the middle of the park. It was difficult to turn them round and the odd chances we did make were once again squandered.
"We had some decent spells in the first half but once again no real threat"

It was all long range stuff and Kitchen made some good runs and crossed to an empty box and Luke had no back up once he was free so it made it a hard days work for the Pools team to hang on for the win. Loach was the busiest keeper in the second half and had to be at his best to clear a good free kick and a save from a corner from the visitors. Hawkes and McLaughlin came on together to try and lift the team as the visitors' subs looked like they knew their stuff and pushed hard for the draw.

Why Bates gave Dinanga three minutes at the end was beyond me as the lad came on and apart from Nico's goal had the best shot of the day, which really tested the keeper as he ran into the box, turned on a tanner and smashed a ball that hit the keeper. I do not see the sense of keeping a lad with that confidence on the bench.

For my money kitchen was Man of the Match and he and Luke never stopped running. Kioso managed to get a game without a booking and he too was one of the pluses for the day. I would take issue with Davies who turned and had a go at Kioso in front of the town end after a decent ball was played through the middle of the back three which they all missed yet he rollicked Kioso claiming he should get stuck in. Totally wrong, he should be supporting young players not bawling at them during the game, especially when he was at fault more then anyone else.

So who do we fancy for the next round? A long time since we asked that question.

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