Date: 30th September 2015 at 2:44pm
Written by: Billy Zinc

Hartlepool v Bristol Rovers, September 29th 2015 by Billy Zinc.

Yet again remarks about the weather are going to be the most positive thing in the match report. As the sun had not long set, as the moon rose above the Cyril Knowles stand, in the still warm evening, the fans sitting in the Mill House stand witnessed the “super” moon resplendent in a full red glow.

Now the bad news. “After an encouraging performance at home against Cambridge, albeit only resulting in a point, followed by taking all three points at Yeovil, I was cautiously optimistic about tonight`s match. Earlier in the season I would have been more concerned about the absence of Woods but, although he started the season well, other players have now caught up.” That was the (rarely for me) optimistic paragraph I’d jotted down pre-match. Within seconds of kick off I, and my fellow fans, were brought down to earth “with a bump”.

The away side came out on the front foot and stayed that way for the full first half, Pools were extremely lucky to go into the break just the one goal down. It would be unfair to single out any of the squad, all of whom were equally to blame for the performance, however, Bates and Paynter disappointed me most. I was expecting good things from Bates when he signed last year, but he never fails to disappoint. Almost the contrary is true of Paynter, after his problem at Carlisle I wondered at the wisdom of his signing, but was won over in the first few matches, now though he looks very much like Howard did up front, laying balls off to areas where he thinks a player should be, rather than where they are, to be fair though, he improved in the second half, though the Bristol defenders seemed always to have the measure of him.

Most fans were still, cautiously, optimistic when the second half kicked off and, in truth, Pools did enjoy slightly more attacking play, but Bristol still looked leagues ahead of us. Again it would be unfair to single anyone out from a good team display but their rather small and stout “Ginger Baker” look alike popped up everywhere on the pitch. Their two second half goals were gifts from the home side, but still well deserved. Old boys have a habit of scoring on their return to the clubs that started their careers off but not usually with an assist from their old side. Cue all the “Easter” pun headlines.

In my 50 year, plus, attending the Vic. I am more than used to being built up for a fall, and all too often have witnessed Pools at the worse when they were expected to perform at their best. But being outclassed by Carlisle and Bristol, mixed with the way we outclassed Cambridge can only lead me to think that the team has a fitness problem. We seemed jaded in the two defeats, but were top of their form against Cambridge.

Last season we played poorly all the time, even during the winning run, anyone of those victories could have just as easily been defeats, this year we show signs of promise then let teams walk all over us for the full 90 minutes.

I used to stand behind the goal at the “Town End”, last night around the 80th minute I received a text from one of my mates at that end , commenting that I looked a lonely figure sat on my own in the Mill House stand, when everyone else had done a “Sunderland” and left early.


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