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Pools up to Scratch

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 1 Crawley 0 (EFL League Two)
Saturday 7 August 2021
Victoria Park

Our first visit to the Vic this season and, as usual, the sprog was running late.

Kids have no sense of urgency about the important things in life. Being late to the ground is a big no no for me, especially the first game of the season; you just have to get in there and stake your claim on your favourite spot. Two thirty arrival is no good to me; I had to queue for a full eight minutes to get into the ground. Then you see a stranger stood in the spot you have nurtured for years - its just not cricket. I warned her that I will definitely get the bus on Tuesday if she is not ready by five pm.

I do have another couple of moans:

The names and numbers on the shirts are difficult to read.

Where are the stewards? Sixteen year old school girls and boys are not going to stop any trouble if it kicks off, or stop drinkers bringing pints onto the terrace during the game, which I think is illegal.

The Vic was bouncing by kick-off and a reported 5200 Poolies turned out to see what can only be called a scratch team after the exits following the magnificent game at Bristol. The visitors looked like a decent side and, considering they would have all played together last season and even beat L****s United 3-0, they would have been confident.

I thought they had a cheek turning us round at the kick off as they only had about sixty fans in the Rink End. Pools managed a shot over the bar on the first attack but the new lad Osemola[?] snatched at it. A clash of heads stopped the game almost immediately but nothing serious.

Both teams looked like they could pass the ball around but both were a little rusty in front of goal. Pools had two wingers out wide and two more up front which proves the point we need big striker in the middle.

We were being beaten in the air across the midfield but the new centre half partnership alongside Liddle did really well.
"maybe by the next game on Tuesday I might recognise some of the players"

Ferguson hit a cracker across the box but no one could touch it home and a good shot from Molyneux was deflected towards the keeper and Ferguson rose to head a ball down at the back post which should have gone in but the keeper palmed away and the ref gave a goal kick. As you know I never criticise the ref unless it is warranted but overall he did ok.

Pools were let off close to half time as the visitors built up a bit of pressure. A ball bounced around in the box and it seemed take ages to find a boot to clear it.

Second half Pools had a lot more of the game and I was impressed by how we pushed them back and took the pressure into their box.

Late in the game one of their players hit a ball over the Millhouse stand and when another ball replaced it I mentioned to the Ditchburn that Pools had just rolled the magic ball onto the field and we would score. And sure enough...

You all know "We have an Irish midfielder whose name is Gavan Holohan. When he wears the blue we will sing a song for you. He is a Poolie through and through." It rang out loud and proud around the Vic as he scored the first goal of the season to give Pools a fantastic start on the first day. A few naughty tackles from the visitors once they went a goal down were unnecessary.

Three well-earned points with a scratch side is not to be sneered at and maybe by the next game on Tuesday I might recognise some of the players and put their names in the report. Sterry was named Man-of-the-Match but there were a few stand-out players today: Timi Odusina and Lidds were a couple I did know. The sub whose name I didn’t know looks to be a real handful with his speed and control - twice he went really close to sliding a ball home.

Lets hope we can keep it going and keep the crowd coming back.


Up for
(and out of)
the Cup

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 0 Crewe 1 (EFL/Carabao Cup)
Tuesday 10 August 2021
Victoria Park

Up for the cup and the Ditchburn was in a lather. In his search for a match programme he had got hold of a team sheet for the game and his discerning eye zoned on a fault.

He told the girl behind the counter that Pools' keeper Killip was going to have a busy night. He was out for the game but was listed as the keeper for the night as well as filling a seat on the bench, according to his team sheet.

Not only did he muse about the lost revenue for the club by not putting out a programme but there was not a half-time lottery ticket. There was an improvement in the steward situation, at least in our corner of the Vic; a male adult replaced the children that did the job on Saturday.

The game set off at quite a pace and to be honest the visitors never got a look in during the first half as Pools were magnificent. The pace and skill was superb as Pools took the game to the visitors. Despite the five changes to Saturday's side, we really pulled them apart and as Pools had won the toss, most of the action was at the Rink End as time after time Pools defenders or midfielders won the ball and set off another attack on the visitors. Crewe were obviously frustrated with the lack of ball they had and they had a man sent off for a tackle just outside the box as Burey was dragged down when he broke free and went on a run with only the keeper to beat. Their manager was incensed and obviously said something to the fourth official and the ref went over and gave him a yellow card.
"to be honest the visitors never got a look in during the first half as Pools were magnificent"

The new wolf pack of Sterry, Angol and Burey tortured the visitors with some clever passing football, backed up by some wonderful long-ball pinpoint passing from Liddle. Sadly this fine display up to half-time proved the point that we need a real number nine as the many chances went begging.

Sad to say Crewe hit us with a very quick goal and some slick passing right after the break despite a very good save from Mitchell and the rebound was hit into the net, putting the visitors a goal up. Ferguson went close but Crewe were now controlling the game at their pace, using some spoiling tactics and time wasting so Pools had difficulty getting at them as they did in the first half. On the hour the manager changed it bringing on Olomola and Cullen for Smith and Molyneux.

Despite a few half-chances, it was not going to happen as Crewe defended their lead and ran out the winners. Not the first time we Pools fans have seen this - playing a team off the park and getting no return. It was a good game overall but we did not take the early advantage we had. Another fine gate of 3100 saw Pools battle in vain but they did not disgrace themselves.

One man that did was number 19 for the visitors. He dived at every challenge, he was down so many times it went against him late in the game when he dived in the box and by this time the ref was not interested and ignored him rolling in agony, which he did for some time. Probably most teams have a player of this calibre, he needs to be the centre of attention. Dale the Diver was a decent player but he only showed himself up by his cheating antics and we all know sometimes cheats do benefit.

Another name we will all remember is Mandron who was at the Vic for a spell; well, at least he can kick a ball now which is a vast improvement on his time at Pools.


A Cracker

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 2 Walsall 0 (League Two)
Saturday 21 August 2021
Victoria Park

It seems like an eternity since we played Walsall and our second home league game turned out to be cracker.

Walsall fans did not have a good start to their visit. As we walked to the Vic from the Mail Office area we saw a huge white coach filled with visiting fans trying to turn in to Morrisons' car park. Anyone that knows this area will know it is hard to turn a wheelbarrow here, never mind a coach loaded with football fans.

The driver, realising his mistake, needed help to get his vehicle reversed into the oncoming traffic on the roundabout and get it back in front of the Vic in Clarence Road which brought jeers and cheers from the passing Poolies.

One change from the Barrow game saw Odusina replaced by Francis Angol. Pools won the toss and kicked up the slope for the first half. And from the off it was end to end football. Both teams had early chances but as the game settled Pools began to take over the game with some exceptional football. Nineteen year old Tyler Burey was having a field day down the Millhouse side, He was marked by probably the fastest man on the pitch but he did not have the guile of Burey as he robbed the defender and hit a magnificent shot past the keeper and into the top side netting, sending the 4600 Poolies into raptures. The lad went off on the hour mark but he really did put in a shift and a half for the time he was on.

The visitors looked like a long ball side and yet they had some decent players but we put them under a lot of pressure. Probably the manager is under pressure too as he berated the ref at the end of the game. But Pools were dogged in defence and really stopped them from playing as they bit into every tackle like bull terriers, robbing the ball continuously which frustrated the visitors and they started leaving their mark on the Pools players. Once again Sterry took his fair share of stick but gave plenty back and Pools left the park a goal up with a very good first half behind them. How is this not our level of football?

When Featherstone took command in the middle and robbed the ball, spun, swerved and turned, all in one motion, leaving three Walsall players for dead and skipped away, he was so quick that even the crowd were caught out looking the other way as he raced up field with the ball. This was better than the Cryuff turn - this was 'UNBELIEVABLE Jeff!' If this is not shown in the highlights tonight I am giving up my TV licence.
"This was better than the Cryuff turn - this was 'UNBELIEVABLE Jeff!'"

The second half started in style with Sterry and Ferguson ripping them to pieces and sending in some magnificent crosses that were either blocked or led to chances missed. There was one cross from the Cyril Knowles Stand side from Ferguson from which three Pools players had a shot at goal before it was cleared.

The second goal was a comedy show from the Walsall centre half who turned away from a Holohan shot which hit him on his arm; he crumpled in the box and feigned injury but the very good ref had already blown for the penalty which Featherstone took and sent the keeper the wrong way, making it a very comfortable win for Pools.

When I say a good ref he does not get off altogether as he booked three Pools players. Maybe Liddle did block a defender and Goodwin was stupid to kick the ball away after an offside decision against him but you have to feel very sorry for Francis Angol who was taking a throw-in next to the dugouts and while taking instructions from his manager he was booked for time wasting, as if we would do that when we were two-nil up and shredding the visitors all day long.

Any one of them could have been Man-of-the-Match but I guess it went to Angol but we have not had a good tannoy in that corner for ages.

One big no-no from the club was the female steward supervisor who was telling fans leaving a couple of minutes early that they could not leave the ground on the Clarence Road side. I always come in that side and go out the same way and I told her so, along with a thousand other fans who just walked past the stewards who could not stop a netball team never mind a thousand Poolies. Even people in the Cyril Knowles Stand were told they could not walk past the Town End to go home they had to walk round the ground. This is the second game we have had bother with stewards dictating to fans and this is a new company brought in this season and it is obvious they cannot cope with a crowd, so look out when the bad boys from Carlisle come looking for trouble next week. Remember their last visit?


Atmospheric Occasion

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 2 Carlisle United 1 (League Two)
Saturday 28 August 2021
Victoria Park

Pools v Carlisle has always been a big fixture for the two clubs but with Pools just coming back into the league it was a bit of a no-no as far as form had gone up to now.

Pools should have had the edge, having won two and gifted a third to a poor Barrow team; I was feeling confident for this one.

Four years ago when we last played Carlisle their angry crowd had pulled out some of the seats in the stand and I think it cost their club about £3000.

Kicking towards the Town End they had the ball in the net after a couple of minutes. As one of their forwards did a poor impression of Maradonna with a finger of God, he tipped the ball over Killip and was dutifully booked for the offence. It brought on a debate about whether it was a dismissal offence but not according to today's ref. Later on the TV it said a player in the Liverpool game had been dismissed for the same offence so what is the difference between a liver and a heart?

Goodwin was the first Pools player to respond and he went close with a snap shot that went over. It was becoming a good game with Pools on the front foot taking the game to the visitors who could not handle the Pools style of attack; sad to say we could not capitalise on the chances. Liddle sent a magnificent diagonal ball across to the corner flag that was picked up by Burey who once again delivered the goods with another cracking goal high into the Carlisle net that their keeper had no chance of stopping. What a bonus this young striker is to the side at the moment.

Pools continued to play some good, attractive football with Angol, Sterry and Ferguson leading the charge. Angol had an even better game than last week in attack as well as defence and was again my choice for Man-of-the-Match.

Carlisle went level as for the first time in the game the left winger for Carlisle was in space and sent in a great low cross amd Maradonna the Finger slid the ball home to make it one-all. Sod's law once again as he should not have been on the pitch.
"What a bonus this young striker is to the side at the moment."

The start of the second half was very scrappy as both teams tried to get the edge. I had just mentioned that it needed changing and Challinor read my mind and brought on Molyneux and Daly and almost immediately Pools went into the lead. A long throw from Sterry was headed out and it eventually dropped perfectly for Holohan on the edge of the box who hit a cracker over the keeper giving Pools a well-deserved lead that had the whole ground singing his Irishman chant till the end of the game.

Once again the atmosphere at the Vic was something else as the capacity crowd got behind both teams with Pools coming out on top. I just hope that they can do the same on Tuesday in the pizza cup.

Sad to say, the derby visit of Carlisle once again brought problems and their hooligan element caused trouble around the ground and even destroyed the disabled seating area in the Rink End, throwing seats onto the pitch. The pubs in Church Street also had to close their doors after trouble kicked off there.

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