Commanding Pools get off to a storming start in an epic 1965 tussle

Ken Simpkins
Ken Simpkins

A team full of innovation but where was the final finish.

That was pretty much the summary of everyone who witnessed this end-of-season 1965 affair between Southport and Hartlepools United.

A match report from the Southport v Hartlepools United match

A match report from the Southport v Hartlepools United match

And even though it had more significance for Southport (who were still trying to stave off re-election to the Football League), Pools were up for the fight.

It had all the hallmarks of a Pools away win, if the statistics were anything to go by. Southport were without a win in 14 League games and the Northern Daily Mail reporter Sentinel commented: “They often appeared listless.

“Pools on the other hand, generally carried menace in their raids but the penetrative power to finish off clever outfield work was missing.”

And even when the home side did threaten, they faced a Pools rearguard with Alan Fox providing a “commanding pivot.”

Pools scored with their first venture into the opposition half. A Bannister corner kick was partially cleared but he regained possession and crossed for Thompson who connected first time and the ball crashed against the post, rolled all the way along the goal line, and rebounded into the net off the other upright.

Bradley almost doubled the Pools lead and Fogarty went close with a fierce shot, just tipped wide by Southport’s keeper Harris.

But Southport found a way back into the game.

Russell raced forward, was obstructed by Fox, and Spence stepped up for the indirect free kick. He directed it to Watt and although Pools keeper Ken Simpkins managed to get a hand to the winger’s strong drive, he couldn’t stop it going in.

It knocked the wind out of Pools’ sails and they barely threatened in the next quarter of an hour. Southport, though, could not take advantage.

In the second half, Pools regained their composure and repeatedly threatened the home goal, especially through Thompson who went close on the 72nd minute.

By the end, though, it finished all square at 1-1 and Sentinel added: “All things considered, this was a useful all-round performance by Pools.

There was particular praise for Simpkins who pulled off one outstanding save, and for Storton and Marshall who kept a grip on the Southport wingers.

Fox was masterly in the way he controlled the Southport striker Spence who “found all routes to goal blocked.”

Ashworth defied the pain of a head injury, which needed stitches, to give a “shirk nothing display,” said Sentinel.

And Harrison played the best game since his comeback, our reporter added.

It had been a better season than many for Pools.

So much so, that the Mayor of Hartlepool Mrs B.E. Mann held an informal civic reception for the team as a pat on the back for a securing a safe place in the Fourth Division.

Southport: Harris, Jackson, Cairns, Peat, Darvell, Beanland, Watt, Taylor, Spence, Russell, Dagger.

Hartlepools United: Simpkins, Storton, Marshall, Ashworth, Fox, Harrison, Bannister, Fogarty, Thompson, Wright, Bradley.

Referee: Mr R Harper (Sheffield).

Attendance: 1,872.