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Match Report


Posted Sat 26 Sep 09 at 16:53 PM

First Home Victory Arrives For Pools

Pools recorded their first home win of the 2009/10 season with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Walsall.

Chris Turner's men were lively throughout, played some good football and put on an entertaining show for the crowd inside Victoria Park.

Two goals from Andy Monkhouse and a stunning effort from Colin Larkin secured the win and gave Pools plenty to build on.

Ritchie Humphreys, recalled to the team for the first time this season after missing out through injury, was instrumental in this first half in his new central midfield role.

Pools were bright from the off - Chris Turner's instruction to be more proactive in getting balls into the box had clearly been taken on board as the players poured forward.

A Humphreys' corner kick from the right found Adam Boyd at the far post for the first chance of the game but the striker's hopeful swing saw the ball go wide of the post.

When James Brown was hacked down after making a tricky run on goal from deep inside his own half, there was only going to be one man to take the freekick.

Denis Behan stepped up to smash the effort at goal, almost catching Rene Gilmartin in the Walsall goal offguard but the big keeper managed to parry the effort and react first for the loose ball.

Pools continued to test the Walsall back line in numbers but credit to the visitors, they didn't make things easy for Chris Turner's men.

Darren Byfield was the biggest threat for the Midlands club, proving busy in and around the area and testing his luck early on with an overhead kick that Flinders dealt with.

Sam Collins was another in fine form for Pools though, winning everything in the air and even finding himself in a right wing role at one point.

A second Humphreys corner was aimed at Collins at the far post but good defending from Clayton McDonald saw the defender nick the possession from the skipper's head and go out for another corner.

As Turner's men continued to push for that crucial opener, Brown - playing on the right wing this afternoon - skipped his way past Jamie Vincent to find s[ace on the edge of the area and fire in on goal but his effort rose just over the bar.

The opener arrived in the 25th minute and Humphreys was at the centre of things; after exchanging passes with Hartley, the Club captain played a neat one-two with Behan before picking out Monkhouse with a sublime ball through to the left of the box. Monkhouse showed a calm head to push in a fire low past Gilmartin and into the bottom right corner of the net.

The Walsall stopper did make a save just minutes later though when he reacted well to prevent a glancing header from Boyd from hitting the net.

Boyd was in good form as well this afternoon, linking up well with both wingers and proving a menace for the visiting defence.

Scott Flinders played his part in Pools carrying the lead into the second half when he pull off an impressive instinct save to deny Dwayne Mattis with the header after a good ball in from McDonald on the left.

And Pools came out after the break full of enthusiasm, clearly under instruction to build on their one-goal advantage.

It took just five minutes from the re-start for Turner's men to double their lead and it was Monkhouse again who hit the net for his second goal of the game and second goal of the season.

This time the left winger had Sam Collins to thank for the build-up; the central defender showed great determination and a good touch to take the ball down the right edge of the box, beat his man before whipping it into the box from the byline.

Collins' ball was touched on by Boyd for Monkhouse who was just inside the box and once again he showed composure to send a low drive through the area and into the back of the net.

Denis Behan tried his luck after being fed through by Brown but his sliced effort went just over the bar while Antony Sweeney headed over later in the half and some brilliant footwork by Brown inside the box.

For much of the second half though, Pools were forced to defend as the visitors looked for a goal to get them back into the game. Sub Rhys Weston was heavily involved for Walsall - he got on the end of a right-wing corner which arrived for him at the far post. Weston smashed the ball back across the face of goal but it scraped wide of the post without getting that final touch in.

Weston saw his freekick from a dangerous position go high over the bar as Pools worked hard to ensure chances were kept to a premium for Walsall.

And while the Walsall sub tried his luck on goal without success, Pools' sub Colin Larkin went one step better and did it in some style.

With 75 minutes on the clock, the striker, who has impressed in recent Reserve outings, picked up a good ball over the top from Brown to run in on goal and, with the keeper coming out to the edge of his box, Larkin showed a great touch to chip the ball over the large frame of Gilmartin and into the back of the net.

Armann Bjornsson could have hit a fourth in the dying minutes after a great ball over the top from Colin Larkin but the Icelandic striker just missed his kick and the keeper collected.

Pools' first home win of the season was achieved in some style this afternoon as Turner's men played entertaining football, frustrated their opponents and found the net three times.

Now they will be looking to make it two wins in succession as they head to Stockport County on Tuesday night.

Att: 3334 (137 Walsall)

Pools: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Liddle, Hartley, Brown, Humphreys, Sweeney (Rowell 79), Monkhouse, Behan (Bjornsson 62), Boyd (Larkin 69)
Subs Not Used: Cook, Haslem, McSweeney, Fredriksen

Walsall: Gilmartin, Hughes, Mattis, Deeney, Nicholls (Jones 73), Bradley, Westlake, Vincent, Richards, Byfield (Parkin 83), McDonald (Weston 51)
Subs Not Used: Ince, Sansara, O'Keefe, Grigg

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