Hignett Loses It

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 2 (National League)
Saturday 1 December 2018
Victoria Park

This was the first match following the sacking of former manager Matthew Bates two days earlier. In my opinion it had been deserved; he was far too defensive in games we should have won, he could not change a game when it was going wrong and he stuck with plan ‘A’ as that was all he knew.

Today the atmosphere was slightly up from the Fylde game and there was an air of expectancy about the ground and with the fans.

I have to say this was one of the best games I have seen Pools play this season, All the bad passing had gone; we did very little turning back to goal and on the day we hammered them, even if the result may say something different!

Ok, we got a deserved early penalty and it obviously settled the lads; we played some great football and for all of the first half we pinned them back; I counted five shots from Pools in the first seven minutes. As the Oracle (AKA the Ditchburn Poolie) said, we played more football today in the first fifteen minutes than we played in the last two home games. Maybe the shackles were off as it is still the same players and apart from three changes, two because of injury and Paddy dropped, we were a different team by a country mile. I think it was a mistake to drop Paddy as he was captain last week and over this recent spell he has probably been our most productive player.

This was the first game in which I have seen Luke James get the service he needs; the lad can rise high in a heading challenge and he won a few today; normally he is back to goal hoping to challenge giants for with the hope of quick header then he has to win the ball and turn his man. It was so better to see him running onto long passes, jinking around defenders and breaking for goal. His greatest asset is his speed and control and today it was all on show from the lad.

Kitching was fouled for the penalty and the confident Noble sent the keeper the wrong way to give Pools an early lead. Pools were playing some good football and the visitors were playing like Pools did last week -- giving the ball away with poor execution of passes and tackles. They did have the odd flourish towards the end of the half and Loach was only really threatened once when he had to make a double save after a snap shot from the visitors just before the break.
"The Daggers had been down and out before the substitution"

The second half started the same way with Pools on top. James was really rattling the Dagenham defence and should have had a penalty as he was flattened deep in the box by a defender. He was such a danger that he was being man marked throughout. He had a  chance to break free when he was on his own charging down in front of the Cyril Knowles stand and he was totally wiped out from behind. The defender was booked but that was no advantage to Pools and it was one of the few times anyone was penalised for the treatment Luke got throughout the game.

Noble was on fire today and was directing some of the junior players into better defensive positions when he needed to. He was very unlucky in the second half when he connected with a cross and his shot bounced off the base of the post with the keeper beaten and Featherstone hit the rebound straight at the keeper.

In my opinion the Director of Football cost us this game, He took Kitching off in the dying minutes and replaced him with Newton who, with his first touch gave away a free kick on the right side of our box. It could have been a penalty but I was in line with it and the ref got it right. A free header for Dagenham resulted in a equalizer and it was sods law that the time they had wasted would be added to the clock and sure enough they snatched a winner.

The Daggers had been down and out before the substitution and I just don’t see the logic of changing a player so late and upsetting the rhythm of the side. Pools' official website said he had been knackered but that is hogwash to save face. Kitching can run all day and could have lasted to the end of this game no problem. It was a bad decision by Hignett and he knows it.

The Director of Football, taking over the reins, says he does not want the job but looking back he was Director of Football while Bates was making a mess. How much input did he have on our recent fall from grace? As the Oracle also said today "When you look back at the recent crop of managers linked to the Borer, no wonder we are in dire straits."

One post on the internet claims Gordon Watson is pushing for Chris Turner to return and he would join him. I sincerely hope not, Turner was the luckiest manager Pools have ever had, as he came to Pools when IOR did and he benefited from the best finance deal the club has ever seen, then he turned his back looking for the glamour of a big club and when he did return he was still rubbish. He was the cause of the downfall of the printed Bizz.

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