A winning shot from Brian Honour helped relieve the doom and gloom during a match in January 1992 - but Pools still looked “out of sorts”.
Indeed, a visiting scribe from a Chester newspaper summed it all up when he turned to a colleague after the half-time penalty shoot-out and said: “That was better than the game”.
Although meant in jest, his comment - at least according to the Hartlepool Mail on January 13 - “wasn’t far from the truth”. Indeed, it was a game of almost unremitting dullness.
“Bottom of the table Chester hadn’t won a league match in over two months, and had clearly abandoned all hope of reversing that trend before they even arrived at the Vic,” said the Mail.
“Chester’s defensive playing made it difficult for Pools to break through the conjested rearguard - leaving the contest to quickly die a death in terms of entertainment.
“Pools had expected a tough match, and that was exactly what they got. But there was never any danger of Chester’s’s unimaginative style reaping any reward.”
Bottom of the table Chester hadn’t won a league match in over two months, and had clearly abandoned all hope of reversing that trend before they even arrived at the Vic.Hartlepool Mail, January 13, 1992.
Chester was given a “little scare” in the first ten minutes, when Steve Fletcher intercepted a poor back pass aimed at keeper Billy Lightfoot. However, it was scrambled away for a corner.
This proved a rare opportunity for Pools, though, who “didn’t help their cause” by producing a strangely subdued performance - and one which seemed to lack any sort of inspiration.
“Perhaps they were frustrated by Chester’s defensive tactics, perhaps they were saving themselves for the FA Cup replay. But whatever the reason, both sides were guilty of poor passing and slack marking,” stated the Mail.
With half-an-hour gone, only the woodwork denied Sunderland loanee Anthony Smith a goal on his league debut for Pools - after Paul Olsson tapped a free kick to the youngster.
Less than a minute later, Stewart had to palm away a close-range shot from Brian Honour and, just before the break, Graham Abel just cleared a dangerous looking cross from David McCreery.
There was little else, however, to get excited about - and the players were booed when the half-time whistle sounded. The boos changed to cheers, however, when Brian Honour sprang into action eight minutes into the second period.
Honour rammed home his sixth goal of the season from just inside the box, making the scoreline 1-0. It was the first, and last, spark of excitement to be had in a game of two halves of pure dullness.