MATCH OF THE DAY: Game of two halves as Pools come back against Plymouth on November 18, 1995.

Steve Howard in action against Oxford United. Picture by FRANK REID
Steve Howard in action against Oxford United. Picture by FRANK REID

THE Hartlepool Mail reported the very best and worst of Pools was on display in the 2-2 draw with Plymouth Argyle at The Vic.

But crucially, under-fire manager Keith Houchen received much-needed support from the only people that could help him – the players themselves.

How the Hartlepool Mail reported the 2-2 draw between Hartlepool United and Plymouth Argyle.

How the Hartlepool Mail reported the 2-2 draw between Hartlepool United and Plymouth Argyle.

At half-time, Argyle had raced into a 2-0 lead and there was loud chants of “Houchen Out”, with the Pools players roundly booed off at the break.

But the second-half was a different story.

Houchen brought himself on at the break and he – along with burly striker Steve Howard – helped inspire an impressive comeback, and in the end Pools could even have gone on to win.

It started badly though, the visitors taking a 13th minute lead from a controversial penalty.

Tony Canham, back from injury at left-back, brought down Chris Billy and Micky Evans converted.

In response, Pools missed a glut of chances themselves before their weaknesses at the back were exposed again in the 35th minute.

Argyle captain Ronnie Mauge was allowed the time and space to head home from less than 10 yards out.

Then came the revival. First, Denny Ingram got one back in the 48th minute, the 19-year-old’s first professional goal.

Then salvation came from sub Howard, who grabbed the second in the 61st minute to bring Pools level.

He latched on to a loose pass to hammer a deflected shot past Kevin Blackwell – his sixth of the season, and it was only November.

How Pools could have done with a similar return when he re-joined the club in the summer of 2012.

l Pools: Horne, Ingram, McAuley, Billing, McGuckin, Henderson, Sloan (Houchen), Lowe (Tait), Dixon, Halliday, Canham (Howard).

l Attendance: 1,830.