Hartlepool v Bournemouth, August 25th 2015
Hartlepool v Bournemouth, August 25th 2015. Billy Zinc.
It seems like ages since we've managed to get to the stage of any cup competition, where it was possible to be drawn against a premier league side, but this year we managed it, though, like most fans I was disappointed with the side with whom we'd been paired. Liverpool, Man City (or United) or Chelsea would have been great, but Bournemouth, who we'd shared a league with only a few years ago?
Not so many (well probably a few more than I'd like to admit) years ago, I recall 14,000 squeezing into the Victoria ground to see Pools take on, the then mighty, Leeds, but this season the club had to reduce the ticket price to attract a crowd of under 5,000 watch a top flight club.
After the encouraging start to the season, albeit a stumble last Saturday, we were expecting a good performance against the premiership new boys. Hearing that Bournemouth had made 11 changes was, at first, encouraging, but from the kick off it was apparent that we were playing eleven men, all premiership quality, fighting to get their place in the first team. No quarter was given, they started as they meant to go, on pounding our goal and selfishly keeping the ball to themselves all of the first half, netting three of their four goals in that half. If pools got a shot in, in the first half, I don't remember it. The second half started as the first had finished with our forwards out of the game for all but the last ten minutes, when they enjoyed a couple of good chances but, in truth, Bournemouth must have, by then, thought "job done" let's let the vanquished have a kick or two.
After the disappointment of last season I don't think many of us were really expecting a "giant killing" performance, but we did expect a bit more fire in the bellies of the pools players. In the end the faithful were left to admire the skills of the visitors, with applause of admiration rippling around the ground when they scored, made good moves or their players substituted.
One similarity to the game against Leeds match was that some of the casual supporters left after the visitors scored their fourth goal, but one big difference was that our lads never gave up and the infamous Bob Newton managed to squeeze two penalties out of a gullible referee, even clandestinely waving to the crowd as he laid prostrate, in the area, after one of the "tackles".
Last night Paynter, who performed no better, or worse than his colleagues was withdrawn, hopefully, to keep him fresh and allow him to take revenge for his treatment by his former club, Carlisle this coming Saturday.