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Match Report


Posted Sat 08 Aug 09 at 16:57 PM

Bright Start To Season From Pools

A lively and entertaining season opener at stadium:mk saw Pools leave with a share of the spoils after dominating much of a 0-0 outing.

With a very solid defensive display and positive play pushing forward, Chris Turner's side showed promising signs and took plenty of positives out of the game.

As is to be expected on the opening day of the new campaign, the atmosphere inside stadium:mk was lively at kick off with the enthusiastic home fans matched by an impressive away following from Pools.

And Chris Turner's men dealt well with the early enthusiasm from MK Dons on the field, looking confident and assured in their play, settling down into their own stride to take hold of the game.

A long throw from Sam Collins in the 10th minute signalled the start of Pools' dominance - the big defender caught his opposite numbers out with his deep throw and presented the best chance of the first half.

Leon McSweeney, partnering Denis Behan in attack, ghosted in to just get a touch on the ball - only to be nudged out by the defender when an early goal looked on the cards.

An increasingly shaky-looking Dons defence struggled to cope with any real pressure from Pools and they were caught out again with a long throw from Collins. This time the effort almost led to an own goal when a back header from the defender was eventually snatched by Willy Gueret.

With a sense of unfamiliarity amongst the MK Dons back line, Pools were by far the brighter of the teams - with Denis Behan in particular proving a problem for the hosts. The big striker used his height and strength well to dominate the final third for Pools.

Scott Flinders in the Pools goal enjoyed a quiet opening half to his Pools' debut - being called on just once to collect from a Jemal Johnson free-kick hit from the edge of the box.

Determination from Ritchie Jones saw the midfielder come close to setting up the opener; Jones showed tenacity to nip in a steal possession from the edgy Darren Powell before whipping a ball across the face of goal which was just narrowly missed by the arriving Monkhouse.

There was another chance late in the half when Jones lifted in a left-wing corner that was met by Monkhouse but Gueret met the ball at the angle and Pools missed out on a well-deserved goal.

So Chris Turner's men went into the break level but after dominating the opening period would be hoping for returns for their efforts in the second half.

MK Dons enjoyed more of the ball just after the interval and began to test the Pools back line - the enigmatic Jason Puncheon switched position and began finding more space down the left wing.

The on-loan winger first tried his luck with a free-kick which was held by Flinders before firing in a swerving rocket shot from 30 yards which was dealt with extremely calmly by the Pools stopper.

A Puncheon corner kick from the left then gave Paul Ince's outfit their best chance of the game when Mathias Doumbe rose to head goalwards but his effort landed on the roof of the net and Pools pushed on,

The introduction of James Brown just after the hour mark was met with huge cheers from the Pools fans and gave the clear intention from Chris Turner that Pools were out to be positive.

While Pools look strong going forward, mention must also be made of the impressivley solid display from the back line - both Collins and Liddle were dominant in the centre, winning everything in the air and looking composed on the ball - a partnership that clearly complement each other. Hartley and Haslam supported well from the flanks.

After a quiet first half, Scott Flinders was well and truly tested on the 71st minute mark when the increasingly influential Puncheon whipped in a dangerous free-kick from the left edge of the box; the ball headed towards the top left corner of the net but Flinders showed great reactions to block out with an outstretched hand to keep things level.

Flinders was alert again minutes later to snatch another effort from Puncheon, this time the pacy winger had made his way to the near post before lifting a ball at target but Pools held firm.

Pools continued to enjoy spells of possession throughout the second half but there was to be no breakthrough this afternoon.

An encouraging and professional display from Pools saw them leave stadium:mk with a well-deserved point and many positives for Chris Turner to take into the season ahead.

Att: 8,965

Pools: Flinders, Haslam, Collins, Liddle, Hartley, Jones (Brown 63), Sweeney, Fredriksen (Rowell 90), Monkhouse, McSweeney, Behan
Subs Not Used: Thomas, Foley, Boyd, Austin

MK Dons: Gueret, Doumbe, McCracken, Easter (Bridges 82), Johnson, Carrington, Woodards, Puncheon, Howell, Powell, Chadwick (Gobern 61)
Subs Not Used: Searle, Partridge, King, Chicksen

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