There wasn’t a great lot of choice for matches this week. At the weekend, Sunderland U23s hosted Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday night and Sunderland Ladies played Chelsea Ladies on Saturday night. I thought about doing both but decided against them in the end. This week, there isn’t a great deal. It was either this game or Jarrow Roofing tonight and then I’ll have a night off tomorrow. Friday will be England U21s vs Scotland U21s at Middlesbrough. On Friday, I was at the British Masters golf at Close House. I don’t mind a bit of golf and had never been anywhere near a professional tournament before Friday. When you think of it, it is better value for money than football. You can pay £30 to watch a top level football game that lasts less than two hours. Or, you could pay that to watch the best golfers in the world play for about 10 hours! There must have been 2,000 people just following Rory McIlroy’s group alone. Out of the 132 players, I saw 93 of them strike at least one ball including the eventual winner Paul Dunne. If you think food is expensive at a professional football match, try going to the golf! A can of Coke was £3 and a pint was more than a fiver. A ‘meal deal’ from a burger van gave you a plain burger, some chips and a Coke for £11.50. Or, if you wanted a fish (without chips. They were about £4 extra) it would cost £9.
Pools snatch three points from Barrow
Hartlepool United snatched the three points with a 97th minute winner against Barrow on Tuesday night.
The game looked bound to finish goalless but a 97th minute Michael Woods header saw Hartlepool steal the three points.
Hartlepool United manager Craig Harrison made two changes from Saturday’s draw at Woking with Scott Harrison and Devante Rodney coming in for Liam Donnelly and James Thorne.
The game kicked off at a fast pace and Barrow created the first half chance as Bedsente Gomis fired well over the crossbar.
A Hartlepool corner found Nicky Deverdics in the eighth minute but he failed to test Joel Dixon while a Jonathan Franks deep cross almost caused trouble but Barrow eventually cleared.
Hartlepool’s Carl Magnay dragged well wide before Barrow could have, and possibly should have, taken the lead. Byron Harrison was played in but with an effort from just 10 yards, he ballooned the ball to hit the roof of the stand.
Woods tried his luck for the hosts but failed to find the target, while Jordan Thompson’s effort at the other end was blocked.
Barrow’s football was very direct. Every ball was played high in the air and they certainly weren’t trying to entertain the fans with pretty football.
However, it was creating chances and on the half hour mark, the Cumbrians created another glorious chance. A ball over the top was flicked on to play Jordan White in but he fired well wide from 12 yards in an effort that will certainly disappoint the former Stirling Albion man.
Woods teed up Nicky Deverdics in the 37th minute for the hosts but Dixon saved well and after a fairly level first half, the two sides went into the break with nothing between them.
Barrow’s Liam Hughes failed to find the target with the first chance of the second half before Scott Loach was forced into a save to prevent Bedsente Gomis two minutes later.
Yet another chance fell the way of the visitors inside the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Jack Barthram picked out Harrison with a cross but Harrison’s glancing header failed to find the target.
After a spell of Barrow being on top, Hartlepool found a spell where they were on top. Craig Harrison’s men were seeing plenty of attacking possession but failed to break down a solid Barrow defence.
A couple of corners came to nothing while with their one shot of the spell, Devante Rodney’s effort was charged down.
Sixteen minutes from time, former Hartlepool United man Dan Jones went close to giving Barrow the lead. The defender, who played 35 games for Hartlepool, took responsibility of a free-kick right on the edge of the penalty area but his low effort was well saved by Loach.
Hughes rose highest to meet the resulting corner and his header was bound for the net until Nicky Featherstone cleared.
Then came the bizarre moment of the game. The referee went over to his assistant and had a discussion. It looked as though it was to do with a player but then the assistant disappeared for five or six minutes! Eventually, the fourth official stepped in to run the line and the game was able to continue.
Within the last 90 seconds of the routine 90 minutes, Hartlepool had Loach to thank for preserving their clean sheet. Jones’ free-kick was headed towards goal but Loach pulled off a fine save and White’s rebound was blocked too.
The resulting corner led to a scramble where Harrison eventually poked agonisingly wide.
In the first of seven added minutes, Hartlepool went up the other end and went even closer. The ball was laid off to Franks who drove a low effort off the post.
Just as it looked as though the points were going to be shared, Hartlepool pinched the winner in the seventh minute of added time. Deverdics’ corner was swung into the penalty area and Woods rose highest to power a header home to the delight of the home support.
Full-time: Hartlepool United 1-0 Barrow
Next up for me is England U21s vs Scotland U21s on Friday night.
Hartlepool United: Loach, Magnay (c), Laing, Harrison, Deverdics, Featherstone, Hawkins, Woods, Donaldson (Oates, 29′), Rodney (Munns, 66′), Franks
Unused subs: Adams, Thorne, Simpson.
Barrow: Dixon, Barthram, Jones, Dunne, Thompson, Diagne, Harvey (c), Hughes, Gomis, White, Harrison
Subs (all unused): Moore, Bauress, Panayiotou, Bignot, Makoma
Admission: £20/£18 adults, £10/£9 concessions
Attendance: 3,083 (102 from Barrow)
Referee: Joe Hull