Hartlepool were comfortably beaten by Port Vale on Sunday, December 3, in the 2nd Round of the Emirates FA Cup, as Vale illustrated a clear difference from League One to League Two.
From the moment Vale’s 6’ 5” Curaçaoan forward Rigino Cicilia slotted the home side ahead after just 12 minutes, it was clear that Pools were going to find this tie a struggle. And they did.
And it never helps when two minutes later one of your players scores the most awkward-looking of own goals. Under pressure from Vale striker Alex Jones, Pools defender Jake Carroll got himself into a weird shape as the ball was whipped in from the left and then somehow managed to divert the ball in with his arse!
In the 31st minute, Jones, a hot property on loan from Birmingham, rolled his man before finishing neatly beyond beleaguered Pools ‘keeper Carson. It’s clear to see why Vale are keen to extend the forward’s signature when his loan deal expires on January 2nd.
By this time the hardy band of away supporters were venting their frustration at manager Craig Hignett, a man they do not believe should be in the manager’s seat. Also, it’s the first time I’ve ever heard a small section of support continuously chant “We’re a pile of shite” at their own side! What happened to getting behind your team? I’m amazed they weren’t challenged by decent Pools fans. Maybe they all agreed with the chant.
In fairness to the majority of Pools fans, they made half time a party around the food and drink counter, throwing a bright purple wig around and having a D.I.S.C.O. regardless of their team’s inadequacies on the pitch.
The second half was one to forget. It was bitterly cold and the only incident worthy of note was when Nathan Smith was tripped in the Pools area. Ryan Taylor, once of Newcastle, had no problem dispatching the resultant penalty.
Vale’s comfortable victory means my allegiance switches to them as they make the trip to Huddersfield in the 3rd Round. For me, Huddersfield’s John Smiths’ Stadium is familiar territory, having seen my beloved Forest play their on numerous occasions. I even saw a Bon Jovi concert there, but the less said about that the better!
The view from the car park
A look around Vale Park (#1)
A look around Vale Park (#2)
A look around Vale Park (#3), including a batch of Pools fans whom I was sat amongst.
Being a Forest fan, this anti-Derby County sticker in the away toilets made me chuckle.