Three Very Good Points

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 2 Stockport 0 (National League)
Saturday 25 January 2020
Victoria Park

With Keena making his home debut and the new boys Hales and Odusina in the side, we could not go wrong. And with  'Mr Magic' Touré back in the starting line up, even the Ditchburn was almost excited. Even better when we won the toss and kicked up the slope in the first half.

It was a decent start too; the game was end to end but both teams were failing to get any decent chances. I saw on the Pools website that their debut striker Lloyd thought he should have had a penalty but today's ref was not impressed with the somersault and double pike he was performing every time he was challenged. They were even diving in pairs but fortunately they did not con the man in the middle all the time but he did give a few later on that were very dubious.

The Ditch told me off for shouting at their striker, calling him Harold Lloyd as he was diving like a comedian. The Ditch was worried that it was going to spur the striker into action, I must say that as a debutant for his new team he was not very good.

Donaldson, playing the captains role, pushed and drove Pools forward. He managed a shot but the keeper, who was no slouch, managed to push it wide; in fact he pushed a lot of balls wide rather than catch them. Both Touré and Holohan tested him but the visitors defended well.

Talking of dropping the ball, Beeney dropped a clanger with a high cross and just pushed it over his head but Hales was on hand to clear the danger.

Pools settled down to play some good football and a great run by Shelton set up Keena for his first Victoria Park goal - a lead at last and we thoroughly deserved it. The Ditch was almost smiling as we went into half time with a one goal lead, a clean sheet and the team looking good.

The second half was brilliant to watch as Pools set about Stockport; chances were being made as Pools stepped up the tempo and the visitors were chasing shadows. Touré hit one over the bar from close range - he has brilliant close control and tortured them on the edge of their box. He set up the second goal when he forced his way down to the by-line and seemed to wait 'til they made a move on him then he stroked the ball across the box for Shelton to hit a low shot past the defenders and the diving keeper. "Two-nil to the Hartlepool" came the shout from the top corner of the Cooper stand, where the band were once again up on their feet in great numbers; it really gives the ground a good atmosphere.
"Southam-Hales was a revelation - how on earth did we get this lad on loan?"

Holohan was on fire today, another player who showed great control and skill as he took on the visitors, leaving them for dead. When you look at the squad now we do have some talent in the side: Touré, Holohan, Hales and Kitchen can all cause problems when on a run.

Challinor looks as if he is being backed and he can certainly pick a player judging by those he has brought in to date.

On my way to the game I heard Keena being interviewed on the wireless and he said "I don’t play a lot of football but I shoot a lot" Well, if he can shoot like today that would do for me. He looks a very good signing for Pools.

Southam-Hales was a revelation - how on earth did we get this lad on loan? He was brilliant, he has real pace and is not scared of anyone. With Peter Kioso watching from the stand, I think he would be rather pleased, having seen his replacement win the Man-of-the-Match, award.

Odusina is another great find by Challinor. The lad made some great tackles, made the job look easy and will be another force to be reckoned with in this division.

You would have thought the new lads had been in the side all season as they settled into the game plan with ease. The team look very confident now and more direct. I commented to the Ditch that I thought we looked like Barcelona today, he just grumbled about the five consecutive corners that the visitors had just had and was worried it was going to be another Fylde game. OH YE OF LITTLE FAITH.

 A great game, three very good, hard won points,  and a jump up the league. What more can you ask for?

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