Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Barnet 2 Hartlepool 1

An enjoyable afternoon at Underhill in the company of Stevie B and a couple of gambling acquaintances of his, all of whom have a lump on Hartlepool to win League Two. After about two minutes, one acquaintance laughed and said "what price laying Hartlepool today ?". The visitors were remarkably slow out of the traps and it wasn't a major surprise when Jason Puncheon's cross was headed towards the net by Liam Hatch, with Adam Birchall touching in from close range. Hatch missed with another header and a third was cleared off the line as Barnet controlled proceedings. Hartlepool fought their way back into the game, Richie Barker hesitated in a great position, allowing the excellent Ishmael Yakubu to make a last-ditch tackle. Eifion Williams crumpled onto the deck about two seconds after being challenged in the box and should have received a yellow card for his trouble, but that was just about the best the league leaders could manage in the first half.

Pool stepped it up a bit in the second half, with lots of possession and territorial advantage playing down the slope, but without raising too many alarms in the home defence. Birchall missed a great opportunity to double the lead with 15 minutes left and, as so often happens, Barnet were immediately punished when Williams wriggled free and rolled the ball inside the near post for 1-1. "We are unbeatable" crowed the visiting support, expecting to extend their unbeaten run to 25 games. Surprisingly though, it was Barnet who went straight onto the front foot after the goal, and after Pool failed to clear Puncheon made some space on the edge of the box and drilled home from 20 yards. Naturally the home fans chirped up with "We are unbeatable" and they had the last laugh as Barnet held on for a 2-1 win.

A win may have flattered the hosts slightly but a draw would have been perfectly fair, and the gamblers' consensus was that there was little between the sides on the day despite the 15 places separating them in the table. Hartlepool didn't really look like a title-winning team and the guys could have some nail-biting to do over the next month if that bet's going to come off.

Elsewhere Rangers scored a fine win at Coventry and one more ought to do the trick. A couple of surprise results in the Premiership too, although Stevie was lugubriously predicting the events at the Emirates almost from minute one. Defeat for United might remind Ferguson to mind his own instead of carping about fixtures and coming out with mealy-mouthed bullshit like "It's the Tottenham supporters I feel sorry for". Right, of course it is. Can we not arrange for the Premiership title to be withheld on account of the total obnoxiousness and lack of class displayed by all and sundry ? Well, if we did it this year, we'd have to do it every year I suppose ...


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