Writer: JohnHold & KBG
Date:Monday September 17 2012
15th September 2012 3pm
My first game this season, so interested to see what the 'matchday experience' is like, and to see the truth about the Groves style.
On the first count, was unable to eat in Legends - at 2.10 they would not be able to prepare anything for us in time for the game. Wife had the sponge cake, which she says was Asda value range. At 2.30 at the back of the queue for in-stadium catering, I had my eyes on the one pasty, but it went to the person immediately in front of me. Still 'sourcing new supplier' of burgers.
Surprisingly, saw Eddie Mitchell on the pitch with his minder - presumably 3-year-old grand-daughter, who was caused to burst into tears by Cherry Bear.
Hopefully having established that I am not one of the Mitchell family, let me also go on to say that I am a firm believer in the SOD style of football. What we saw was an extreme version of that, but (a) we totally dominated possession (the BBC stats are ridiculous), (b) reduced Hartlepool to bystanders (c) created a perfectly acceptable number of chances for any game and (d) missed most of them.
In the first half the build-up was incredibly slow, but as the half wore on we created a couple of good chances. The 'diamond' was very evident, but (Partington (at the base of it) apart) the players inter-changed their roles all the time. McQuoid and Grabban, the nominal strikers, would regularly find themselves on either wing, and the other 3 midfielders would often go through the middle, and try to get found by a through ball - several of these just missed their targets.
There was width, but it came from long diagonal balls. Once McQuoid or Grabban had it wide on the right, Francis would join in and towards hafltime we overloaded Pools there and got lots of balls into the middle. The missed chances were headers from Fogden, down and over the bar, and McQuoid.
So the first half was intriguing if you like that sort of thing, clearly many do not. Slow buildup, yes. But poor, like a lot of people on here keep suggesting? Never!!
In the second half, IMHO, we reaped the benefit of the foundations we had built in the first half. We kept possession, but 30 yards further forward. Pugh and Daniels formed a new left side, and (until a few misplaced passes right at the end), were totally dominant. Hartlepool could never stop the long diagonal ball to Pugh (right in front of where we sat), and he and Daniels, with support from Fogden and Grabban, continually broke through on the byline, or cut across the front of the area. Lots of chances and half chances created. Francis was putting in crosses on the other side.
If we had scored at the start of this spell, everyone would be saying everything they said after Yeovil last week. It was relentless. The only thing we had to worry about was a break here and there by Hartlepool, which on a couple of occasions were 2 against 2. There was one time when the ball pinged around our area and Pools had 2 or 3 chances.
20 minutes from the end, the ref gave Pools a penalty. From 150 yards away diagonally across the pitch, it never was. From TV last night, it was the 2012 version of a penalty: yes there was contact from McDonald, but what sort of contact, did the player have to go down, how easily did he go down? Whatever, he was going nowhere, it was cheap.
Tubbs had come on 5 minutes earlier - McQuoid had done nothing wrong, but by that time we had Hartlepool there for the taking. A minute after the penalty, Pugh/Daniels trickery got the ball in, Grabban shot fiercely into the keeper's body, Tubbs put the header wide of an open goal.
Towards the end Pugh/Daniels were trying a bit too hard and got careless. Momentum briefly interrupted when one father in the north stand wanted to give his son the chance to throw the ball back on the field. But in the 92nd minute Addison stayed up after a corner, the ball got lumped to him and the second ball fell to someone who slotted it through to Tubbs, who slotted it past the keeper. Doesn't usually work when the centre-back stays forward, but he had screamed to his fellow defenders to let them know he was there. I actually thought Tubbs could easily have been given offside, and that Addison led with his arm when jumping, but never mind!
The ref: got some crunching challenges wrong (mostly in Pools favour), penalised Partington for a perfect tackle, if from behind, gave a soft pen. Booked the wrong Pools player at the end to prevent a red card. Gave Pugh one advantage when Walton tried to take him out, and went back to book him after. Called a drinks break after 30 min!!!!
Date:Monday September 17 2012
Footballers found not guilty (Friday May 24 2013)
10 years ago today (Friday May 24 2013)
Flahavan: I am staying to fight for the shirt (Friday May 24 2013)
Cherries linked with Brentford striker (Thursday May 23 2013)
Win a kit for a local youth football team (Thursday May 23 2013)
Introducing the 'All Departments' podcast (Thursday May 23 2013)
Mitchell: It is paramount we keep Howe (Thursday May 23 2013)
Three more games added to pre-season schedule (Thursday May 23 2013)
Pitman: No-one expected us to go up that day (Wednesday May 22 2013)
Mitchell: Season ticket sales are fantastic (Wednesday May 22 2013)
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