No joy for smallest Pools “gate” since Second World War

Owen gathers when under pressure from McLean during a match between Pools and Workington on March 21, 1964.
Owen gathers when under pressure from McLean during a match between Pools and Workington on March 21, 1964.
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Pools gave their dwindling - and frustrated - supporters a glimmer of hope that the first home win of 1964 could be just around the corner on March 21, 1964.

In the event, however, promotion-seeking Workington robbed them of sharing the 1-1 match spoils at the Victoria Ground with a 63rd-minute penalty.

As a spectacle the game gave the meagre crowd little to enthuse over, and an annoying factor was the number of stoppages for petty fouls,” added Sentinel. I shudder to think gate numbers could continue to drop unless Pools return to winning form.

“Pools, to my mind, just weren’t good enough to have deserved the victory,” reported Mail sports pundit Sentinel.

“But let it be said that there was an element of doubt about the penalty - awarded after Bilcliff and Martin were involved in a tussle for a high ball.”

The cold, damp day, as well as the attraction of the Grand National on TV, saw just 1,383 fans show up to cheer on their teams.

The dismal gate was the lowest since World War Two, prompting chairman Ernest Ord to state:

“It was a disgusting attendance. But we must have better results if we are to have better crowds.”

Not only the gate was dismal that day; so was the first half. Indeed, a goal by Hopper of Workington in the 16th minute proved the highlight.

Pools continued to struggle timidly as the second half got underway until, in the 53rd minute, Bradley equalised for the home side.

“His success saw Pools proceed to hammer relentlessly at the Workington goal with welcome spirit and dash for the next 15 minutes,” wrote Sentinel.

“But the fighting revival faded as quickly as it had begun and, in the end, Pools were again struggling timidly.”

Few of the Pools players merited praise from Sentinel. Indeed, Fraser was “unsuited” as a centre-forward, while Johnson was “merely competent” in the same role.

Even Irish international Amby Fogarty “struggled alarmingly” until Pools rallied after the interval - eventually hitting form as the minutes ticked away.

But young Bobby Morrell “gradually grew in confidence” in his debut for Pools, despite being booked for a controversial foul on Martin five minutes from the end.

The scrappy game finally drifted to an end after Workington’s leading goalscorer, inside-right Carr, converted a penalty in the 63rd minute. Victory was theirs.

“As a spectacle the game gave the meagre crowd little to enthuse over, and an annoying factor was the number of stoppages for petty fouls,” added Sentinel.

“I shudder to think gate numbers could continue to drop unless Pools return quickly to winning form.”