Lacklustre Pools

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 0 Harrogate 1 (National League)
Wednesday 1 January 2020
Victoria Park

Just like most Pools fans I am am bloody sick of Harrogate Town. After leading them 2-0, we held up the white flag and got stuffed in the F.A. Trophy, the first game of three. Then the same story in the next - 3-1 this time, but still a surrender. Today I was not expecting anything different as the new decade started. We again played Harrogate and never got a look in as we went down 0-1 to a sloppy goal. They are possibly our new bogey team, and it is not pretty to watch. A point on the day might have helped but to be honest we were never worth a point going by today's fare.

We now look as if we have the division's biggest keeper in 6ft 6 inch Mitchell Beeney who looked ok in the warm up. He stretched out and showed the fans he can reach the bar with both hands without leaving the ground; sounds good but as it proved later a ball on the ground can still roll past him into an empty net.

Killip and Kerr made way for Beeney and Raynes from the last game and sad to say Touré never came out for the second half, which was a big loss.

The first half, with Pools kicking to the Rink End, was a flat affair, even more flat than of late when the lads in the North West corner were once again silenced. Something about not taking seats but this rule is killing the enjoyment and will eventually turn fans away.

I think we had two shots in the whole half when, early doors, Gimi jinked his way into the box but his shot hit the side netting. Later in the half Kioso bounced one off the bar and, apart from a fantastic block inside the keeper's box by Liddle to stop a certain goal, Stead putting one into Morrisons from five yards and Beeney making a couple of saves, there was little else to write home about in the first half.
"Once again Pools came up short at home when this was an opportunity to prove to Harrogate at least we are not bottlers."

The second half started briskly enough but once again Pools lack that killer ball and we wasted our possession with poor crosses. Kitching did find a few gaps but more often there was no one in the middle once the crosses came over or the visitors cleared with ease. Three years now we have been in this division and still we have not figured out how to take any advantage; in every game the visitors take to the ground in a fifty-fifty challenge and con the man in the middle to give up a free kick for them Today it looked like every time they did appeal he gave them the advantage and the same team dived about like dolphins. Their no 4 was on the ground eighteen times in the second half alone. The sad part though is it gives the cheating teams an advantage in good positions and they usually benefit from them.

Today's goal for the visitors came from just that type of decision by the ref. A dive out near the dugouts and the no 4 crumpled in a heap clutching his leg, was given the free kick and the ball went down the wing; a missed tackle from Kitching and Stead was on hand to roll the ball past Beeney. From then on it was the continuous time wasting that is so infuriating to fans of the trailing side: the keeper getting a drink before he picks the ball up then walking right across the goal mouth to take the kick (ok, the ref did point to his watch on the sixth time he did it but sadly that was no deterrent as no card was shown.

One other point: where are the Pools ball boys? An incident in the second half saw Pools in a challenge putting the ball out for a goal kick to the visitors. The player making the challenge walked away from the ball and his keeper wasted more time as he walked to get it.

The Ditchy came up with the idea that, just as a players has to go off at the nearest touchline, then a goalkeeper should come to the side of the goal where the ball went out to take his kick. I await the response from the league officials to the strongly-worded Ditchy letter, once he has sent it.

Once again Pools came up short at home when this was an opportunity to prove to Harrogate at least we are not bottlers. But looking at the three results it is going to give any team confidence when they come up against the lacklustre Pools.