And its worth noting that the Walsall game highlighted one of major failings, apart from being able to pass to ball to each other, that, forgetting our cup games, we are still one of a decreasing number of teams, 8 now in Tier Three, that have failed to win a League game after falling behind. Its happened seven times now and we have lost 5 of them including Walsall and we are the only promotion chasing team with this dismal record.
There's not much history between the Addicks and the Pools with a total of only three games played and due to our current lapse in fortunes and one of Hartlepools rare visits to Tier Three last year was the only season we have spent together. We won the game at Victoria Park 2-0 in August 2009 thanks to goals by Burton and Bailey in the first 30 minutes and we also won the return game at the Valley in January by 2-1. The only other game against them was a League Cup tie at the Valley in 2005 which we also won 3-1. So 3 games and 3 wins for the Addicks but will this perfect score continue on Saturday?
Hartlepool became founder members of the Third Division North in 1921 and they share with Rochdale the unwanted record of enjoying 89 years of League football without ever reaching the headly heights of Tier Two. But one thing they share with the Addicks is that our baptism in League football began in the 1921/22 season with both of us being in the regional Third Division, the Addicks in the South and the Pools in the North. But whereas we only stayed eight years before being promoted into the Second Division in 1929, the Pools had to wait 46 years to get that first promotion by finishing third in 1967-68. Sadly Tier Three football only lasted only one season and they were relegated back to Division 4 where they had been since the 4th Division was created in 1958.
Down in 12th place but they managed to struggle into the top half of the table for only the second time this season with a surprising 1-0 away win last weekend at the number one home team in Tier three, Bournemouth who were on a 5 game unbeaten run. As for their home form and its only the 19th best with only 3 wins and 2 draws from 8 games with a couple of serious hammerings from Wednesday 0-5 and Carlisle 0-4. BUT two of those wins have been against Brighton 3-1 a month ago ( Poyet's first defeat in 13) and the Posh 2-0 before that and they have improved with only one defeat in their last 5 home games.
The 60 year old Mike Wadsworth is currently caretaker manager of the Pools and a more varied managerial life than his can't be imagined. After working for the FA including a coaching role in the 1990 World Cup and FA's Excellence Programme he's moved into management and has managed or been assistant manager at a total of 15 teams including both the Congo and St. Kitts and Nevis national teams and at club level, Oldham, Carlisle, Colchester, Huddersfield, Southampton and Newcastle and many more. So a man with a wealth of experience. He joined the Pools in June as First team coach and has been caretaker manager since Chris Turner left in August.
Midfielder number 15 Anthony Sweeney is doing a Johnnie Jackson and getting the goals. He's got 4 League and 4 cup goals for a total of 8.
The Pools are a first half team and have only been behind at the interval on two occasions this year. Only the ultra conservative Oldham with 11 first half draws can better that record. The Addicks and Brighton have been on the losing side three times at the 45 minutes.
What Are They Saying?
Manager Wadsworth after last weeks win at Dean Court said: "We were looking forward to this for a while and we've been talking to the players about building momentum and spoiling their party and we managed to do that. It was a very good result for us. We are putting a run together away from home, that's three good displays away from home now. We have a good group of players here and they have some belief now."
Elliot; Francis, Dailly, Doherty, Fry; Wagstaff, Semedo, Racon, Jackson; Anyinsah, Benson
Despite the Pools recent home wins over Brighton and Peterborough, we do have a 100% perfect history against them, a desperate need to get back on track after slipping to fourth and Parky's desire to prove himself to our new owners all of which point to a 2-0 win for the Addicks. But then I won't put any money on it.