3,000 Pools fans sang their hearts out in Ipswich in a stirring FA Cup away day

Billy Ayre breezes past Paul Mariner.
Billy Ayre breezes past Paul Mariner.

They bowed out of the FA Cup in a 4-1 away defeat to Ipswich Town.

But this was no drubbing for Hartlepool. It was a memorable away day when 3,000 Poolies sang their hearts out for the lads.

Malcolm Poskett attacks the Ipswich defence.

Malcolm Poskett attacks the Ipswich defence.

And if fate had played its hand differently, perhaps an upset would have been on the cards.

A sixth-minute penalty from Colin Viljoen gave the home team the lead at Portman Road after Derrick Downing robbed Paul Mariner of the ball, but even the Ipswich manager Bobby Robson admitted the resultant penalty was a dubious decision.

Paul Mariner doubled the lead with a volley on 28 minutes when Mick Mills fired through a crowded box for Eddie Edgar to make a good save.

Creamer seemed to have cleared but he sliced the ball which ran loose to Mariner who blasted it home before Edgar could recover.

I can’t figure out why Hartlepool are struggling in the League but if they approach every game like this one, they’ll get out of trouble

Bobby Robson in 1978

It didn’t look good for Pools but all that was to change.

Derrick Downing went on a run down the right wing and Paul Bielby spotted it. A good ball forward reached Downing who fired past Cooper into the far corner of the net.

Pools were only one down going into the second half and they were back on the attack when Malcolm Poskett brought out an amazing save from Cooper.

The Hartlepool Mail at the time said: “Had that been a goal, who knows what might have happened?”

It was 49 minutes on the clock when Ipswich restored their two-goal lead. Mick Lambert headed on for the in-rushing Brian Talbot to beat Edgar from close range.

But still Pool attacked and Gibb had a chance in front of goal. But Beattie slid in to stop the shot.

On 66 minutes, Ipswich were well on top when Viljoen struck again when he played a one-two with Robin Turner.

But Pools were on top as the match wore on and Ipswich flagged. Malcolm Poskett made his mark on the game and it prompted Bobby Robson said afterwards: “I liked him very much.

“Billy Ayre played well too. He had a handful with Mariner but he was always battling away and Paul has a few bruises to show for it.

“I can’t figure out why Hartlepool are struggling in the League but if they approach every game like this one, they’ll get out of trouble.

“Against players of our quality, they did very well. They always competed and it was a good game.”

The match report from the Mail reporter said Pools exited the Cup “with their heads held high amidst an amazing demonstration of loyalty from their fans.”