Writer: The New Ricky Hill
Date:Saturday August 11 2007
11 August 2007, 3pm
As expected a very hot and sunny Saturday for the return of Danny Wilson and Hartlepool, sooner than we would have liked. The pitch at KR looked immaculate, a far cry from the mudpatch at the end of last season.
A very different team with seven players making their full debut. Before the game a brilliantly observed minutes silence for the legendary David Preece.
So the Town lined up:
Richard Jackson Chris Coyne Chris Perry Alan Goodall
David Edwards Matt Spring Steve Robinson Darren Currie
Paul Peschisolido Paul Furlong
On the bench Don Hutchison, Drew Talbot, Keith Keane, Sam Parkin, Paul McVeigh.
No sign of enmity for Paul Furlong despite his Watford and Rangers past.
A bright start and Hartlepool had the first chance when Richard Barker skipped through and round Brill, but was forced wide when he could easily have gone down. Minutes later and much the same but the shot passed across the face of the goal.
Hartlepool were definitely playing the better football, simultaneously fast, pretty and effective, with much of it orchestrated by Gary Liddle. For a third time Brill was left exposed, but this time he claimed the ball in the nick of time on the penalty spot.
Minutes later Coyne was forced to head over his own bar, and from the corner Ian Moore headed narrowly wide over a flapping Brill, exposed once again.
But on 25 the first clear chance for the Town as Spring turned the Hartlepool right back then curled in a beauty of a cross which the keeper flayed at only to glance it to Edwards. His shot screamed in but just wide.
Seconds later another Town chance as Furlong rose at the far post and a bullet header flew wide.
On 38 minutes I remarked that I was disappointed with Darren Currie, who had looked sluggish on the left. Seconds later he picked the ball up in the inside right channel. 'He'll probably score now' I said, and watched as he weaved past a couple of Pool defenders and then sure enough curled a low left footer from 25 yards past the keeper and in at the far post.
1-0 to the Town, a bit harsh on a very entertaining Hartlepool.
On 44 minutes Pesch touched the ball for what seemed like the first time. Not through any fault of his own, but the Town game was basically hit it long at Furlong, who was very well shepherded by the Hartlepool Colossi, and as a result Pesch had no service at all.
So 1-0 at half time.
Within 30 seconds of the restart a very close call as a long cross from the right fell invitingly to the Pool no 8. His left foot shot flew across the 6 yard box and Ian Moore stuck out a toe to poke it in, only to somehow slice it wide.
Two minutes later Brill had to dive bravely at the near post to stop a low and very dangerous cross.
It wasn't all one way traffic. On 52 minutes Currie and Goodall worked a good free kick routine, a fierce shot from Goodall well saved by the keeper. But it was far from a convincing performance.
Time for a change. Big Sam Parkin came on for an exhausted Furlong, and a few minutes later McVeigh replaced the equally tiring Peschisolido.
It made little difference, the biggest talking point being how McVeigh`s lack of size made Robbo look like a giant.
At last however, just five minutes from the end, the Town were awarded their first corner of the match (which says it all really). Currie curled one over and Goodall fired a bullet glancing header across the goal, only to be apparently cleared off the line. But seconds later the ref whistled and gave the goal.
2-0 to the Town.
Shortly thereafter the Man of the Match was announced as David Edwards. Manager Ian Blackwell then used up the last minute of normal time by bringing Don Hutchinson on for Currie, and as the announcer advised 3 minutes of injury time the Town won their second corner of the game. Game over we thought, but from the corner Hrtlepool cleared and then attacked, and a beautiful slide rule pass into the box found Anthony Sweeney. He looked a mile offside and I could have sworn the linesman was about to flag, but before he could Town centre back Chris Perry hacked him down. The ref immediately whistled for a penalty and lino bottled it. Town fans went mad, Richie Barker buried the spot kick, and 2-1 it was.
But it mattered not as the final whistle arrived with the Town still ahead.
So 3 points will do nicely, particularly against one of the better sides we will face this season I suspect, but the Town will need to do better if they are to win this league. The defence looked very suspect, with neither full back looking as good as Foley and Keane, and Perry and Coyne the weakest two of the four centre-backs on display today. The midfield looked capable but lacked bite, and the long-ball game will not suffice without some variety and creativity.
Brill 7 looked confident and capable
Jackson 5 not convincing though not awful
Goodall 5 ditto
Coyne 4 typical Coyne, slow, out of position, fouling, and booked for it
Perry 5 not tall or strong enough
Edwards 7 tall, elegant, confident, strong
Spring 7 the best Town player on the pitch, ran hard, and classy
Robinson 6 ran but somehow never arrived
Currie 7 creative but seems a bit slow - not a winger I think
Furlong 6 struggled manfully against a strong central pairing
Peschisolido 5 never got into the game
Parkin 6 looked lively and has finally got rid of the comb-over
McVeigh 5 did nothing
Hutchinson 5 for the waste of a minute as he came on
Date:Saturday August 11 2007
Hatters Sign Duo (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Hatters Sign Tigers Striker (Sunday May 19 2013)
Luton to Entertain Aston Villa (Friday May 17 2013)
Tyler`s Staying (Friday May 17 2013)
I Wish It Was Us! (Wednesday May 15 2013)
Favourites (Again)! (Monday May 13 2013)
Keeper Ranks Bolstered (Monday May 13 2013)
Nielson Finds New Club (Monday May 13 2013)
Welcome to the Mad World! (Monday May 13 2013)
I Felt Physically Sick! (Monday May 13 2013)
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