Don Valley Stadium
2 August 3.15pm
With the match officials being held up in traffic the last pre-season friendly for both the Millers and 'Pool was delayed by fifteen minutes - whether this did anything to dampen the Millers spirit, I wouldn't know, but a more boring game of football I haven't seen in many a year.
Hartlepool brought about twenty-five fans and walking down the road after the game one of them said to me, 'If that's your first team then you are going to be in serious trouble next season.' He could be right.
'Pool came out looking so much sharper than the laid back Millers with ex Miller, Andy Monkhouse, crossing a dangerous ball across the face of the goal which no one got on the end of. Seconds later, Andy Warrington was tested by an impressive Joel Porter as the Australian shot from twelve yards out. James Brown could have had two in two minutes when his first shot was stopped by captain, Pablo Mills and he sent his second just over the bar. The first goal came just before the half hour mark when Monkhouse fed a short ball through to Foley who got by Ian Sharps only for the defender to bring him down and the referee award a penalty which, although Warrington got a hand to it, was put away by Joel Porter. The Millers managed to get an equaliser a few minutes later when Jamie Green found Ryan Taylor inside the penalty area. Taylor's first effort was blocked by Arran Lee Barrett but Taylor reacted quickly and managed to scramble the ball into the back of the net. A moment later, the home side should have gone into the lead but Lee-Barrett managed to stop a Taylor strike with his feet. Just before half-time 'Pool re-took the lead when David Foley found Ben Clark on the back post and he put the ball into the net.
The second half could easily have started with a visitors goal but a shot from Brown was palmed out by Warrington which found Porter who put the ball into the net only to be ruled offside. 'Pool took the lead again mid-way through the second half when the Millers defence were all over the place and Brown put the ball into the top of the net. Foley should have had a couple but fired one straight at Warrington and the other went just wide of the goal. The Millers seem to wake up at this point and Mark Lynch crossed into the box for substitute, Jamie Yates, whose first effort was saved by Lee-Barrett but he managed to get the re-bound over the line. Foley could have had another but a good save from Warrington foiled him before the final whistle.
I would think that there will be only one manager happy with today's performance and that is Danny Wilson. The few Millers fans who did turn up were very quiet and the atmosphere couldn't have helped the team - the most animated the home fans got was when ex Miller, Richie Barker came on for Hartlepool in the second half. The situation at the club was the talking point in the pub before the game and the fans seemed to be subdued not knowing what is going on - perhaps it's the same with the players.