Striking for the Top


After a few bumps in the road Pools seem to have got back on the right track with three wins on the bounce to take us into second place in the league.

Although this does not represent the true picture with teams around us having games in hand which, if they won, would represent a different scenario. But let us not worry about that and enjoy the heady heights of what is not a good league with all teams capable of beating one another. Manager Dave Challinor deserves a lot of praise in putting together what looks to be a useful squad after the past years of dross. Indeed his last three signings, Luke Armstrong, Jamie Sterry and Joe Bunney, look ready-made to shine in this division. He has shipped out David Parkhouse who did nothing of any note while he was here and was sent back to Sheffield and not before time.

We now have four decent strikers in Armstrong, Mason Bloomfield, Joe Grey and, surprisingly, Rhys Oates, who is playing as well as he ever has done for us. The winner he set up for Armstrong against Notts County was pure class. Although he showed the other side of his game in the second half when presented with a clear sight of goal by the County defence he managed to hit Row Z when he had all the time to make it 2-0. One thing that Oates does have is pace in abundance which worries defenders. He showed his passion in the first half after losing possession in their penalty area to cut their full back in half and earn himself a yellow card.

I must say the referee was not a homer and gave us a few decisions which could have gone against us. Especially the "goal" they had disallowed when it looked certainly on. About time we had a bit of a rub of the green from referees this season. Although three red cards for opponents certainly helped our cause somewhat when it is usually our guys getting dismissed for very little. Although things did not look promising at the kick off when the cameras caught the ref and the County captain sharing a joke and it appeared that there might be a rabbit away.
"We now have four decent strikers in Armstrong, Mason Bloomfield, Joe Grey and, surprisingly, Rhys Oates, who is playing as well as he ever has done for us."

With the strikers looking good we also have Claudio Osofu who seems to have fallen out of favour at the moment but could be a good option to bring off the bench late on as he is a tricky customer who could trouble tiring defenders. He looks a talented little player who could really blossom if he was given an extended run in the side.

Our captain seems to be having to settle for a place on the bench lately which is good news as he brings nothing to the game even when used as a substitute. He certainly played the part of a captain when called upon take a penalty in the FA Trophy defeat to Halifax ...ballooning the ball over the bar and out of the ground as predicted by everybody watching in our house.

When you think we have Luke Molyneux, Luke Williams and Gary Liddle to come into the team when required, we have as strong a squad as we have had for some time. And a goalkeeper in Henrich Ravas who I believe should be our No 1.

A real nasty, tough-tackling midfielder could be just the missing link we need - and also for Torquay to lose a few - and a win at their place in March is a must. But this is not out of the question; they are Torquay, not Tottenham.

I must compliment Notts County on the stream for the match although expensive at £12 it was very professional with top commentary, good camera work and replays. Something Pools could learn from with their abysmal service and lack of customer service. A complaint to them gets neither a reply nor a refund and picture quality is pathetic with the camera operator appearing to try to film a herring gull in flight rather than the actual match. I refuse to purchase another stream for a home game while these cowboys are in charge of the filming but I will go for the odd away game when the product seems vastly superior.

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