Cracking Pools headers - but they weren’t enough for victory

Alan Waddle powers home the first for Pools.
Alan Waddle powers home the first for Pools.

Brilliantly taken goals, a skilful attacks and an opposition fightback at the end.

That summed up Pools performance in this 1983 game against Chesterfield.

Mick Docherty.

Mick Docherty.

And although there was huge frustration that the away team had fought back from two goals down, at least manager Mick Docherty could be happy with the way his team had played in the opening period.

The Hartlepool Mail reporter at the time said: “Two brilliantly taken goals and a string of enterprising, skilful attacks had Chesterfield on their knees and ripe for a heavy defeat until the Pool rearguard lost its way and threatened to give away all three points instead of just two of them.”

Pools started with lots of accurate attacking play and our reporter said: “It is difficult to remember a Fourth Division side playing better football.”

Pools had two good penalty appeals before they took the lead on 20 minutes when Kenny Lowe and Kevin Johnson combined to send Phil Brown away on the right.

It is difficult to remember a Fourth Division side playing better football

Hartlepool Mail reporter, 1983

His cross to the far post was perfect for Waddle who powered a superb header into the far corner.

On 26 minutes, Pools made it 2-0 when a deflected right wing corner from Mick Buckley was met by Andy Linighan who ran onto the header at the edge of the box and directed it into the roof of the net.

Yet this seemed to be the point when defensive frailties began to show.

Pools players were out of position from the restart when Alan Birch crossed from the left after the kick-off and Eddie Blackburn saved from John Clayton’s header. But it only led to Steve Kendal being on hand to hit home the rebound.

In the second half, the home team made “error after error,” said the Mail’s reporter.

Birch hit the post in the third minute of the second half and the equaliser came on the hour when Kendal stuck out a boot to force the ball home after a scramble.

It had involved at least two back-passes which had gone astray.

Star of the game for Pools was Alan Waddle who “won every ball he went for in the first half.”

He nodded through balls on well and helped Pools to look in a class of their own early on.

It was only in the second half that the crosses dried up from both flanks and Waddle was starved of possession.

Our reporter concluded: “If Pools had been able to maintain their start, it might also have given them an avalanche of goals.”