Hartlepool v Cheltenham, November 7th
Hartlepool v Cheltenham, November 7th 2015 by Billy Zinc.
The highlight of the match was the shirts, not quite back to our traditional blue and white strips, but much better than the "International Rescue" ones that our lads are donning this season. Cheltenham wearing their proper red and white, stripped, shirts was also a bonus. All away teams seem to be adopting the same ochre colour shirts this season, even wearing them when no colour clash is evident, probably another money making scheme from the clubs desperate for the income 9rather than clubs in the top flight, who are just being greedy). After recent displays many of the loyal gave the game a miss, and who can blame then, although the gate price was only £10, taking your son and ancillary costs would soon double that.
The media, which I mainly steer clear of, told me that we had more loan signings, one or two recent ones like Okuonghae have been worth the shirt but most others have been disappointing. My mate said that he was going to walk down Clarence Road, passed the ground with a pair if football boots in his hand to see if Ronnie jumps out and signs him.
Of the loanees Grey did start off bright, but I`d have sooner had his 80th minute replacement Woods on for the full match, the latter, no matter how the team is playing, always gives is all and never goes into a tackle uncommitted. With Cheltenham seemingly on the up in the Conference (or whatever they call it now) league, and us not so in our league, I wasn't expecting Pools to have our name on a ball in Monday's draw. Cheltenham were quicker off the mark than Pools, but with all their possession I don't think they troubled our goal keeper in the first half hour, but were unlucky (or maybe just inept) when the ball bounced around the Pools penalty box and soon after rolled ominously in from of our goal. I wasn't upset to see Paynter being replaced by Bingham in the first half as he hadn't impressed and seemed unable to control the ball, falling over it a couple of times before surrendering it to the opposition, who fortunately weren't being productive with it either. Bingham and Fenwick were the pairing that I thought would gel. I soon learnt why I'm writing this and not managing a team. It was actually Bingham and Okuonghae that developed an instant understanding with each other, resulting in the latter putting Pools in an unlikely lead in the extra time of the first half.
The second half saw little to choose between the sides again, Cheltenham if anything even improved, with the home team lucky to survive another goal mouth scramble, though in Ofsted terms they`d have been placed from "special measures" to "in need of improvement". The constant chopping and changing, however much needed, is doing nothing for the cohesion of the team, and rarely do we see our lads actually operating as a team, to use a well worn pun the "Hart" doesn't seem to be in Hartlepool United.
Talking to a few supporters the term, a win is a win, and let's hope we get someone we can beat in the next round seemed to be the mood. As I've stopped my pay for view television, which included the football package, so I'm reduced to Match of the Day highlights, I started doubting myself as to the quality I should be expecting in the fourth tier of English Football, but I note Ronnie himself admitted, that the team had carried luck today. I only saw that headline as I half heard an announcement regarding the forthcoming televised match. I believe it said that ticket prices were going to be reduced, but I didn`t catch the details. It`s probably on the site, but having already picked up some bias (Ronnie's "luckly" comment) from it, I didn't search thoroughly before completing these thoughts about the match. The Stir of Echoes can be heard in some parts of the ground, I'm told regarding our last season's saviour, I hate the merry-go-round of managers. In what other walk of life could one be repeatedly be sacked for incompetence, given a massive payoff, then get the same job from a better company (or in this case team) at a higher wage, whilst between jobs the media pay you a fortune as an "expert" summariser.