Pools’ fourth game of the season seen the visit of Chester FC to Victoria Park. After a poor start from Pools, in particular a mistake from Scott Harrison misplacing a pass, Chester seen themselves 1-0 up within the first minute.
Thankfully for Pools, a brilliant team performance was enough to see them back into the game after a Jake Cassidy header which was met with a big scrap inside of the six yard box, to make it 1-1. Pools battered and bruised Chester but ultimately couldn’t find that winning goal, leaving them without a win in their first four games of the season, which at first may seem very worrying, but a string of decent performances aren’t a massive cause for concern at the moment. It feels like that win is just round the corner. Here are my player ratings based on last nights performance.
Scott Loach – 6
Loach didn’t exactly have a bad game last night for me. The only flaw I in particular have was how he could have dealt with Chester’s first goal better. A mistake from Harrison seen Chester in on goal and a brilliant save from Loach wasn’t followed up very well, ultimately seeing the rebound in the back of the net, tucked away by Akintunde. Despite not being really tested very much, Loach did make the necessary saves with the very few shots that Chester had on goal, without any issue. Loach also often found himself taking very long from dead ball situations at 1-0 down, not sending a message of urgency from a goalkeeper is a massive thing for me, especially in the dying ages of the game.
Carl Magnay(C) – 9
My man of the match. Carl Magnay didn’t put a foot wrong last night and was extremely unlucky not to score an absolute worldie, a volley from what appeared to be 30+ yards, smashing it off the cross bar. Magnay displayed the captained performance which Pools have lacked for so long, not giving up and getting the crowd fired up even when the curtains appeared to be closing. I can’t personally note at once when Magnay was not shouting and dishing out instructions to his team when the foot was off the gas.
Louis Laing – 5
Another dodgy performance for one of Pools’ so called main centre backs. Chester found themselves lobbing the ball up field to their one man up front for a long duration of the game. Everytime this happened, you just got the feeling that Laing was going to give the ball away and get caught out for pace. Even in aerial situations, Laing doesn’t send the ball into next week with a clearing header, and often mis-placed a lot of his passes, giving away possession very cheaply. A lot of room for improvement, and I personally know the talent is there, but Laing doesn’t appear to be learning from his mistakes.
Scott Harrison – 4
Arguably the worst performance I’ve personally seen from the ex-Sunderland man. Harrison, as I’ve already stated, was massively responsible for the goal which we conceded in the first minute, which then set the tone for the rest of the game. Going down in the first minute was an absolute disaster. Similar to Laing, I never really felt confident everytime Harrison was left at the back by himself. Mis-placed passes all of the time and getting out-jumped by several Chester players in the air.
Blair Adams – 6
Unfortunately had his night cut-out at half-time due to an injury. Offered a lot of width down the left hand side, wanted to take players on and get involved in both attacking and defending. Oddly gave the ball away unnecessarily in some stages but no real mistake of note was enough to make his performance all round, decent.
Ryan Donaldson – 7
Last night, I think we seen what Ryan Donaldson is actually capable of. He appeared to want to take players on, something Pools haven’t really shown much of in the past three games. Offered a lot of flair down the right hand side and was pinning some good crosses into the box for Amond and Cassidy to feed on. Should have actually grabbed a goal himself if it wasn’t for a brilliant save.
Conor Newton – 6
Newton appears to be in a position similar to that of marmite “You either love him or hate him”
For me, Newton is starting to settle into the team and was much more improved than a couple of games ago, looked a lot more composed on the ball, wanted to feed players and wanted to create a flair in the middle of the park. Still caught out of position a lot though. this needs cutting out sharpish. Still also a bit slack on the ball at times but I think Newton is starting to show what he’s capable of.
Nicky Featherstone – 6
Very similar to that of Newton. Featherstone had a very good game last night, and many will argue he’s found his level of football. Sat deep in the middle of the park and picking out the wingers and strikers positively rather than always going backwards and going back to square one. Looks a lot fitter and stronger than that of last season. Will we see him back as a regular starter?
Nicky Deverdics – 7
This is an interesting one. Deverdics found himself starting the game which in many Pools fans eyes will be seen as well deserved. Deverdics hit the bar twice, and was one of the more creative players in the team. Probably wrongly got subbed off for Jack Munns but I don’t think he’ll have any issue finding a regular starting position with performances like that. His lack of pace was made up by some thrilling balls into the strikers, and cutting in offering to bring more players into play.
Padraig Amond – 6
Never stopped(again) found himself on the ball a lot more with Cassidy supporting him but never really got a clear-cut chance on goal unfortunately for him. We’re really starting to see Podge and Jake form a decent partnership and understanding. His free-kick at the end probably summed his night up. Podge wants to be scoring goals and have no doubt he’ll be back on the sheet soon after bagging his first at Maidenhead on Saturday.
Jake Cassidy – 8
Hasn’t disappointed once since being introduced as a starter on a regular occurrence. Looks like Pools have bagged themselves an absolute bargain in this one. Has everything that you’d hope from a big man, pace, physicality, and will bully defenders into winning a header in the air. Also extremely good with his feet and held the ball up very well when waiting for support. Topped his night off by winning a scrappy header and bagging his second of the season.
Liam Donnelly(Adams 46) – 6
Solid and much more improved than previous performances which have suggested we haven’t really seen much difference from last season. Seemed to play better playing as a full-back rather than a wing-back.
Jack Munns(Deverdics 65) – 7
Once again came on and made life an absolute nightmare for defenders, fitting in those little pockets of space very well and getting stuck into their midfielders. Wanted the ball and was always looking to create something.