The Desolation of Dover

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 3 Dover 2 (National League)
Saturday 9 March 2019
Victoria Park

All fans like to have a prediction on the game and my only option for any game home or away is a three one win for Pools. Which it was not today as I went for three nil to Pools and after a comment about them being a bogey team I thought I would look up the record. And it is miserable reading with three defeats before today's game.

With the new boys Kerr and Edgar in the starting line up it is just as well that we are not restricted from bringing in players and with absentees Magnay and Kioso not yet ready to play we needed a lift.

Pools set off the game at a good pace and a shocking tackle sent Kitching head over heels in the first three minutes, the defender letting him know what was in store. The defender took a booking but it could have and should have been a red. Pools looked like they were really up for it as they took the game to the visitors and had most of the possession early on and threatened the goal but the visitors defended well and Pools struggled to get clean balls in the right area.

With a strong wind in their faces Pools battled hard but could not break down the strong Dover defence. It was sod's law when on the break the visitors looked dangerous and missed a couple of decent chances but shortly afterwards they went ahead with a smart shot past Loach after a looping ball over the top had left the striker with a one-on-one with Loach and gave the keeper no chance and was free to slot home the chance on the half hour mark.

Dover went two up in a couple of minutes as a shot across the box curled past Loach who, some might say, should have done better. It was all over, or should I say Dover, as they could have had five in the first half rout. Some around me went for an early pint after the second goal and some of them even went home, decrying the efforts of the home team.

Molyneux had come on for Kitching just before half time as he was having a torrid time down the flank. Pools started to play football again and the question has to be asked as to why Moyneux did not start the game as his arrival lifted the Pools side and took some of the attention off James, who always had two markers on him whenever he got the ball. Once again the lad was battered and given no protection from the ref as he was bundled to the ground time after time.

There was a clear penalty that was waived by the ref as a hand went up to palm a corner away; sadly, the only one in the Vic not to see it was the man in the middle and as the linos are not allowed to get involved in decisions unless asked by the ref, we were robbed again. I was amused by what followed: a Pools cross hit the hand of a defender and the decision was a penalty. Someone please tell me the difference? Or is it just a case of the ref being temporarily blind when it suits him?
"I was praying that the ball was not given to Noble but fortunately Hawkes took the ball off him"

I was praying that the ball was not given to Noble but fortunately Hawkes took the ball off him; he had to wait a while as the visitors in turn took time to inspect the ball placing then try and dig out the penalty spot as Hawkes waited to smash the ball past their keeper, which he duly did.

Three minutes later Pools were level as Luke James on a run was challenged and despite a little flip of a dive he was awarded a second penalty. OK there may have been a little exaggeration on the forward roll but it was definitely a penalty that Hawkes put away as cool as you like. Another great comeback from the team and so sad for the fickle fans who walked out when it was two down with the visitors still on top.

As I said at the time, the NEVER SAY DIE fans were rewarded as the lads set about the shell shocked Dover team, who had started wasting time after going ahead on thirty minutes, kicking the ball away down the line and passing the ball around when getting a throw in, but I had a wry smile for the Dover sub who, while warming up in the first half was taunting the Pools fans and laughing up his sleeve as he showed a two nil sign to the angry lads in the Town End corner. He only came down once in the second half and ran straight back to the bench!

The time wasting played its part as five minutes were added and Pools, on a roll, stretched the visitors who took off their danger man and put on another defender who then played up front but was offside every time they broke. It was just deserts for Molineux who, along with Amos and James, ran riot around the Dover defenders, some of whom should go to the local keep fit class.

Molyneux got the winner with a lovely curling shot past the keeper after being put through on the left; the celebrations were mental, especially from the five hundred Pools youngsters in the Rink End after a scheme organized by the South East Poolies, who had set up a sponsor deal whereby  any local team of youngsters could bring a group of kids to the game for a thirty pounds fee. Five hundred kids jeering and heckling the visiting keeper as he took the kicks and catches during the game was a sight to be seen, But the Pools goal celebrations were even better still with the Town End was bouncing as the goals went in.

Sadly, some of the kids, nearly all in football strips, marched right round the ground at half time but as they set off the heavens opened and as many were toddlers, they were soaked and freezing by the end of the tramp but I bet they still enjoyed a great comeback win by Pools.

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