Pressure Pays Off

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 1 Dagenham & R  0 (National League)
Saturday 21 December 2019
Victoria Park

After the farce away at Harrogate last week it was obvious there would be changes made. No sign of Dimi or Kerr who between them apparently blew that game for us, but other accounts also claim there were a few others in the side that seemed to slack off after the two-nil lead.

Killip, Raynes and Toure all were back in and starts for Hamilton,  Shelton and the legend that was Gary Liddell. With thirty-nine away fans joining the 3000 home fans there was a good atmosphere in the ground, and with Pools kicking the right way for a change we looked good after an early scare from the kickoff.

It looked like the classic "defend at all costs and hit them on the break" was the order of the day as the visitors played deep and tried to, er, ...hit us on the break. This hitting us on the break was making the Ditchburn very nervous throughout the first half as Pools had most of the possession and did all of the pressing - it could well be one of those days. Yes, we did press but more often than not the last ball option was either wasted by an offside decision, a poor effort at goal or a loss of possession. The visitors did not look that confident and a massed defence made it hard for Pools.

Hawkes was first to be anywhere near the keeper with a decent shot but it was pushed over the top; Kioso also tested the keeper but the rebound was mis-hit by Touré, who was flagged offside anyway as Pools piled on the pressure coming up to the break.
"There was a slight pause before it dawned on Kitching that he had just won the game for Pools."

The second half was pretty much the same with Pools doing all the pressing. Pools almost scored when a cross came over and Touré, ghosting in at the back post, was so close to breaking the deadlock but the keeper did well to block a close-range effort. Pools, now kicking down the hill, were pressing more and getting into the box. It looked like a point apiece as the visitors were wasting time with the keeper being warned twice but Pools kept up the pressure. The pressure eventually paid off just in time to stop the Ditch going walkabout. Some good approach play by Pools set up Kitching to score his second ever goal for Pools as he flicked the ball over the keeper into the side of the net. There was a slight pause before it dawned on Kitching that he had just won the game for Pools.

Kabamba, who had come on for Mafuta, was causing problems and almost netted a second as Pools took control of the game, one the Daggers now had to come out to play. Liddle  was named Man of the Match, much to the dismay of the Ditchy, who always has an alternative substitute for the accolade but I had to agree with his choice of Featherstone, who looks like he could be a contender for Player of the Year when the time comes. Both Hamilton and Shelton did well and looked to be good additions to the squad.

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