So close to Cup glory for Pools

David Clegg who starred for Pools.
David Clegg who starred for Pools.

Hartlepool United’s cup journey resumes soon when Pools travel to Port Vale.

If they can negotiate that away trip, they’ll be in with the big boys for the third round draw.

Ian McGuckin gets in a strong header to clear the ball.

Ian McGuckin gets in a strong header to clear the ball.

Let’s take a trip down Memory Lane to an FA Cup tie 20 years ago with York City which they dominated but could not quite finish off. The only real question by the end was how Pools hadn’t won.

They almost got off to the perfect start when David Clegg fired in on the five-minute mark, and only just evaded the outstretched Howard and McGuckin in the six yard box.

Halliday went close when he latched on to Howard’s pass, before curling a right-foot shot just wide of Tim Clark’s goal.

York, who had enjoyed a great Coca Cola Cup run of their own that season, were struggling to get going but Tolson caused panic in the home defence when he set Steve Bushell free in the box on 11 minutes. However, Denny Ingram and Lee combined to get the ball clear.

O’Connor turned hero two minutes later when Bull blasted the ball towards goal from point blank range. The keeper not only kept the ball out, he clung onto it to prevent a certain goal

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Chris Beech went close on 14 minutes when he hammered a shot towards goal, only to see it finish in the side netting. On 19 minutes, Howard drove a cross ball into a crowd of York defenders.

A goal seemed to be getting closer for the 3011-strong crowd but York were coming more into the match. Graeme Murty had his first chance to run at the Pools defence and broke free on 29 minutes, but Hislop had enough pace to race back and clear the danger.

Clegg and Howard both went close before Halliday had a golden chance to give Pools the lead. He turned on a quick free kick, but delayed his shot for a fraction too long which allowed Clark to intercept.

By now, the rain was pounding down as the first half came to a close. The second started with a penalty shout for Pools when Clegg pushed the ball past Wayne Hall and then went down under his challenge. The referee waved away the appeals.

Minutes later, there was an injury scare for Pools when Clegg was caught by a two-footed tackle from Bushell.

Then Himsworth became the first player to go into the book when he fouled Hislop on 59 minutes. The game was getting niggly.

York almost broke through when home goalkeeper O’Connor came for a cross only to change his mind when Pepper got up to win a header. From the follow-up, Tolson looped the ball over the keeper but over the bar.

O’Connor turned hero two minutes later when Bull blasted the ball towards goal from point blank range. The keeper not only kept the ball out, he clung onto it to prevent a certain goal.

Howard drove a shot just wide.

Finally, in injury time, Hislop had the last chance for glory but he smashed a volley just wide.

Ten days later, Pools could not repeat their heroics and went down in a 3-0 defeat - but York knew they’d been in a fight.

Hartlepool United: O’Connor; Ingram, McAuley, Beech, Lee, McGuckin, Cleeg, Cooper, Howard, Halliday, Hislop.: Clarke, Subs; Allon, Tait, Davies.

York City: Clarke, MacMillan, Hall, Pepper, Tutill, Barras, Murty, Bushell, Tolson, Bull, Himsworth. Subs; Randall, Stephenson, Campbell.

Referee: Graham Laws (Whitley Bay).