Hartlepool – Fan’s Views

Saturday, 7 September 2002, 0:00
3 mins read

Home > Story Index >Swansea v Hartlepool – The Fan’s Views

Match Report by Phil Sumbler
In truth this was a much improves Swans performance on that of last week against York but for the opening 20 minutes it did not appear as if it was to be that way. For that period Hartlepool looked every inch the league leaders, and on their performance in that opening spell, deservedly so. They seemed hungrier for the ball and had more committment, which sadly again for a while seemed lacking in some of our players.
It was no real surprise when ‘pool took the lead. A ball in from the right was only, yet again, half cleared by the Swans defence and neatly volleyed into the corner of the net by Tinkler – a shot which gave Roger no chance at saving. My initial thoughts at this stage were already around the "if we keep this to a respectable score’ which is slightly worrying.
Our best chance came soon after this when Keaveny played in Wood who faced himself on a one-on-one with the keeper but saw his shot saved by the legs. Hartlepool seemed at this point to be establishing complete control and it was also interesting to note that their starting eleven were numbered 1 to 11, something which you see little of in the days of squad numbers.
My phone rang after 25 minutes and the caller was dismayed to hear that we were seemingly playing worse than last week and he went off to the reception of the wedding he was attending a little pissed off to say the least. But the call appeared to bring us luck as we immediately forced a corner and from that, Nick Cusack stole in at the back post to force the equaliser, against the run of play.
Whether this made the Swans up their game or demoralised Hartlepool, it made no difference but it certainly changed the pattern. All of a sudden Swansea seemed in the game and just 15 minutes later a cross from the left was met by a Hartlepool defender’s arm and Jamie Wood calmly stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way and give the Swans the lead.
With only two minutes to the interval, all Swansea had to do was to hold this advantage but again defensive frailties stopped them doing so. Another piece of slow defending saw Gordon Watson, lively all day, step in to force the equaliser and the two teams trooped off after an entertaining 45 minutes all level.
If the first half was lively, the second half was probably more entertaining with both sides pressing for another goal. Neither defence was commanding but in fairness there was some good attacking play on display making for the entertainment.
The best chance of the half fell to David Moss who met a cross from the right with a header back over the keeper’s head only to see it rebound back off the inside of the post when it seemed certain to hit the back of the net. Having said that, Hartlepool were pushing hard as well and saw a good downward header cleared off the line by Michael Howard.
The introduction of John Williams on the hour for the limping Jonathan Keaveny seemed to unsettle the Hartlepool defence and several balls over the top were chased well by Williams but all too often he looked into the centre to see support very slow in arriving.
Another point of the second half seemed to be some very poor offside decisions against Swansea and bookings for Swansea players when Hartlepool challenges, far more serious, went unpunished. The announcement of Kristian O’Leary as the sponsors man of the match was met in the centre stand with severe jeers when to me Nick Cusack was the man who shone today and deservedly took his applause when he went off with three minutes to go.
I said last week that on the form against York we were looking like a relegation team. Today we looked better but until we sort out our problems in defence we will be little better than a mid table outfit. It’s nice to see the Swans scoring goals and from several outlets but the defence looks constantly shaky and this has to become a major focus in the midweek training sessions.
Amusing moment of the match for me was listening to a ‘fan’ in the centre stand asking James Thomas who he played for these days but in a crowd of under 3400 we need all the people in the ground we can get.
A big improvement but as school reports usually say ‘can do better’

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