Memory Lane: A delightful Dobson winner to settle this 1985 Hartlepool United match

Paul Dobson on the charge for Hartlepool.
Paul Dobson on the charge for Hartlepool.

Pools had Lady Luck on their side as they fought their way to a fourth win in as many games in 1985.

They survived an away attack which saw the ball smash off the crossbar.

Billy Horner.

Billy Horner.

But there was nothing lucky about the winner, which the Hartlepool Mail reporter at the time hailed as a brilliant piece of skill from striker Paul Dobson.

The opponents on a sunny September Saturday at the Victoria Ground were Swindon Town and they were managed at the time by Lou Macari. He and his men must have gone home feeling very unlucky not to have got something out of the game.

The Mail’s match report said: “Dobson’s goal was a marathon effort. He picked the ball up from Brian Honour on the halfway line and made off down the wing before cutting into the box to put the ball through the keeper’s legs.”

Perhaps it was not reflective of a close game in which Swindon had the better chances. They looked as though they would take the lead seconds after the half-time break when a great shot from Coyne struck the underside of the Pools bar with the home goalkeeper Eddie Blackburn beaten.

Dobson’s goal was a marathon effort. He picked the ball up from Brian Honour on the halfway line and made off down the wing before cutting into the box to put the ball through the keeper’s legs

Hartlepool Mail reporter, 1985

Despite that near miss, the Pools defence was looking more solid and organised than it had done at any point in the season.

In fact, this was a scrappy affair lit up by a piece of Dobson magic on the 74th minute.

The Hartlepool Mail reporter at the time said: “What must please manager Billy Horner most is that at long last Pools seem to be getting the run of the ball after dreadful start-of-season luck.”

Confidence seemed to be growing across the team and the side was definitely starting to become more of a unit. “Up front,” said the reporter, “Pools are obviously missing the talents of Alan Shoulder and Bob Newton and once they come back into the reckoning Pools could go from strength to strength.”

After the game, Horner said: “It was a very hard game and I am obviously very pleased.

“We were worried at half-time the players would go forward too much to try to get a goal.

“They knew the crowd were impatient but they were well disciplined and kept things steady.”

Only 2,727 spectators turned out to watch the encounter, and the manager said it was down to his team to put in the performances which would get more people through the turnstiles in future.

He said in such a tight game “it only takes one goal to win a match like that”.