Date: 3rd May 2016 at 8:59am
Written by:

Hartlepool United v Portsmouth. April 30th 2016 by Billy Zinc

Losing, like winning can be habit forming and one of the two reasons we lost today was due to the last three defeats, which we suffered while the manager was looking at the squad with his eye on next season. A win in the last home game of the season would have seen supporters looking back more kindly at the mixed season, and re-enforced doubters decisions as to whether to invest in new season ticket in the summer. Many fellow supporters work at the local Steelworks so do not know if they`ll still have a job when the new season starts, even more have worries about their pensions.

A two nil defeat would suggest that Portsmouth were on a totally different level to Pools today. Indeed they were, but only in height and build. This brings me to the second reason we lost today, which was firmly in the control of our forwards, in a word FINISHING. It was disappointing that Portsmouth first goal was not only scored by their bad boy, but also that it came between two scoring chances that had fallen to Pools Paynter.

The top teams in our league always field a team of giants and Portsmouth were no exception, unusually for a team coming from south of the Watford Gap services, they didn`t try and kick us off the park. Their height and build was used to their limits, muscling us off the ball and keeping headers well out of the reach of our munchkins. Curiously they still felt the need to hold on to minute Luke James when corners came in.

The first half flew by, with the organised Portsmouth side being match by an unusually well organised Pools defence. I have rarely seen a team being caught offside so many times at the Vic.

Pools made most of the second half play, but rarely looked like scoring, whereas Portsmouth looked dangerous on the break. I`m not one for statistics but I reckon that Pools had twice the amount of scoring chances in the second half than Portsmouth enjoyed.

The Hartlepool faithful felt that the game could have been ours but went home not blaming the ref., foul play, our lady luck but to lack of finishing skills in front of goal. We were invited to stay after the final whistle to applaud the team on the season, but after a defeat I would find this a hollow thing to do.
The, sold out, away end was full of enthusiastic fans who appeared well behaved, though my mate did say he say a couple of bloody noses on his way to the ground.

Since Higgy took over we`ve seen enough to know that with the addition of a finisher or two we can be a force next season. Oh! And Higgy thanks for keeping us in the league, we were definitely relegation fodder before you came.

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