Can James Brown keep up his early season form and get Hartlepool back on track?
Hartlepool’s free scoring side abruptly silenced by average Tranmere side.
It’s something football fans are used to. Dominating a game, having more shots, possesion and corners but somehow losing. Hartlepool, a side renowned for slick football, didn’t lose through lack of trying or poor performance but through mere fluke.
After destroying early season favourites Scunthorpe (3-0) and Colchester (4-2) it seemed that an away day to struggling Tranmere would be a game that rampant Hartlepool could seize. Prenton Park, an impressive ground but with lack of fans, was noisy due to the loud fans of Hartlepool. Ronnie Moore, a manager under plenty of pressure from his Tranmere support, must have been worried when James Brown began destroying and scaring Ian Goodison (Tranmere center back)
Godwin Antwi, a former Hartlepool right back, was forced into a mistake which led to Joel Porter forcing a save from Tranmere goalkeeper Coyne. All the early shots and pressure was for theÂ away side and as Hartlepool set up camp in the oppositions half, Chris Curran scored for Tranmere on the break.Â Curran recieved the ball around 20 yards out, juggled the ball and slammed the ball into the bottom left corner. A very classy goal but oneÂ that felt unjust.
As the halfÂ was about toÂ finish in a similiar pattern, Gary Liddle had a golden oppurtunity for Hartlepool. Willie Boland, a wellÂ travelled 33 year old center midfielder, produced a through ball which left Liddle oneÂ on one with the TranmereÂ keeper. Slightly dazed by thisÂ oppurtunity, Liddle poked theÂ ball into the legs of a rejoicing goalkeeper.
Hartlepool fans had seen this all before. It is not the first time the side has dominated but lost, however fans were beginning to get a bit restless. “It’s about time we got a proven goalscorer in” was one of the shouts from theÂ terrace. Optimism was still oozing fromÂ the fans.Â Hartlepool had controlled the game, created plenty of chances and due to the inept performance of Tranmere must have believed the game was there for the taking.
The secondÂ half was a cagey affair. The midfield was packed andÂ as the wind picked up the game began to turn scrappy. It was only until the last 20 minutes that Hartlepool sprung to life and had numourous chances to score. Joel Porter, an Aussie that was linked with moves away, hit the bar. Richie Barker, the center of some transfer talk replaced Ritchie Jones, a Manchester youngster, as Danny Wilson went all out for the minimum reward of a point.
Contemplating loss was now reality. Hartlepool didn’t have a killer prowess and as the final whistle blew, Hartlepool had been blown of their heavenly perch of League dreams.
Danny Wilson believed that it was time for the sob stories to end, ” I’m sick of being told we were the better side, we need to be more ruthless”
Fans will now be calling for action next week when Hartlepool take on Stockport at Victoria Park. The proposition of Leeds United is now one that worries and sticks in the mind of supporters.
Hartlepool must step up their game.