The Vital View
Forum member, Abel, gives us his take on the 3-1 win away at Bradford City.
For the first ten minutes of Saturday`s game, it looked like The Seasiders were going to stroll to a comfortable knockout victory against their Bantam weight opponents. However, it wasn`t until midfielder Steven Schumacher`s dismissal with twenty minutes to go that the Seasiders finally struck two knockout blows.
Pool took the lead after 6 minutes; new boy Robbie Williams (presumably fired up by the song of his played before kick off!) heading home Wes Hoolahan`s beautifully flighted corner.
Ten minutes later, the Pool had a good shout for a penalty turned down; Adrian Forbes` shot was well saved by Donovan Ricketts and just as Andy Morrell was about to pull the trigger on the rebound, he appeared to be fouled.
In what was a game a few chances, Bradford nearly equalised just before the break; Bridge Wilkinson`s free kick hitting the bar with Paul Rachubka beaten.
Robbie Williams was then booked seconds before the break for a late challenge on Joe Colbeck; the first of many bookings during what would be a fiery second half.
Unsurprisingly, Bradford came out in the second half with all guns blazing and had the better of the play. However, it was the Pool who should have gone 2-0 up when ten minutes after the break, Scott Vernon blazed over the bar from Andy Morrell`s square pass when it would have been easier to score.
Just four minutes later, Bradford were level; Omar Daley curling home from distance with a lovely strike after Adrian Forbes had failed to clear the ball properly.
Claus Jorgensen, David Fox and Adrian Forbes then joined Williams in the book for fouls and choice comments to first year referee Mr Bratt respectively.
However, the game took another twist just minutes later when Steven Schumacher received his marching orders. The ensuing melee saw Bradford striker Moses Ashikodi also pick up a yellow, although in all honesty, he was looking to stay on the pitch.
Simon Grayson then brought on Keigan Parker for Forbes and the Pool nearly regained the lead when Donovan Ricketts just about managed to parry away David Fox`s free kick.
However, just minutes later, Andy Morrell did give the Pool the lead again; stabbing the ball home from close range after a great move featuring Wes Hoolahan and Claus Jorgensen.
Simon Gillett then replaced David Fox and Marcus Bean also came on (replacing Hoolahan) for his first game since January as the Pool looked to wrap up the three points.
And wrap it up they did; Simon Gillett bursting through the non existent home defence and squaring the ball to Scott Vernon who rolled the ball into an empty net despite offside protests from Bradford.
Despite there not being as many Pool fans there as expecting, the travelling fans still made a terrific amount of noise which no doubt spurred the team on to go and win the game.
In terms of performances, we didn`t play very well at all for large parts of the game, but Bradford were truly woeful with only their keeper, right back and number 23 coming out of the game with any credit. In my opinion, it`ll be a miracle if they stave off relegation after Saturday`s abject performance.
Saturday was the first time I`d seen Rabs in action since he`d joined us on loan from Huddersfield and I was very impressed with him. Apart from one Evans esque moment, he looked very confident and was constantly looking to distribute the ball quickly into wide areas to keep us on the front foot.
As for the defence, the new boy Williams was superb for the first 45 minutes, but struggled in the second half through no fault of his own (see later point) and looks like a great bit of business by Larry. Jacko struggled at times against Paynter, but wasn`t helped by poor refereeing. On the other hand, Ian Evatt was man of the match for me after not putting a foot wrong all game. Danny Coid had one of his quieter games, but we can`t expect too much of him after such a long period spent out of the team through injury.
Saturday showed how important Southern is to us; at times we were simply inviting pressure because we didn`t have anyone in midfield really breaking up their play (although Claus did his best). Talking of Claus, he justified my comments on here and elsewhere about him being a good player yesterday. Now he`s got a run in central midfielder, he looks so much more confident. For me, Foxy looked a tad jaded on Saturday and could well do with a bit of a rest (after all, this is his first full season at this level. He still played a few fantastic passes though mind, but he really does need someone like Southern next to him for us to see him at his best. In my opinion, Forbes has come in for some really unfair stick; he played well in the first 45 minutes and showed glimpses of the player he was at Swansea (beating his man and running with the ball etc). He also linked up brilliantly with Williams in the first 45 and helped the lad defend by tracking back. When Wes moved back to the left in the second half, he didn`t track back anywhere near as much, and as such, Williams struggled when their right full back overlapped. Forbesy`s work rate and effort really shouldn`t be underestimated. Speaking of Wes, he needs to learn when to pass the ball; he gave the ball away far too many times on Saturday.
Scott Vernon missed a sitter and was too lightweight for me on Saturday; I`d have brought BBB on for him, but as it transpired, things worked out in our favour anyway. As for Parker; if he had a brain, he`d be a brilliant player.
Anyway, a well ground out win; we just have to make sure that we get something from our game in hand against Rotherham on Tuesday now - if we win, then we`re really in a good position to seal a place in the playoffs.