The day Bob Newton dumped Palace out of the FA Cup

Billy Horner, Vince Barker, Eric McMordie and George Smith listen to the fourth round draw.
Billy Horner, Vince Barker, Eric McMordie and George Smith listen to the fourth round draw.

It still ranks as one of Hartlepool United’s finest days.

With 9,000 passionate fans watching, Pools won an FA Cup third round tie for only the second time in their history.

Bob Newton powers home a header.

Bob Newton powers home a header.

The fact that they did it against a Crystal Palace team filled with well-known names in 1978, made it even more memorable.

It was Terry Venables visiting team which took the lead on nine minutes when Dave Swindlehurst crossed to Nicky Chatterton who controlled the ball and slammed it past Eddie Edgar.

But the lead did not last long. Five minutes later, Smith chipped a high ball into the Palace box.

Palace player Phil Holder left it, thinking one of his big defenders was there to clear. But Pools forward Bob Newton was behind him and turned sharply to beat goalkeeper Tony Burns with a 15-yard shot.

Not for many years has a crowd got behind the team like they did on Saturday, and for the first time in my memory the chanting of ‘United United’ came not only from the faithful Rink End but also from the two stands and the paddock in front of the Mill House stand

Hartlepool Mail reporter, 1978

The fans went wild and it got even better for the packed Victoria Ground. Dick Malone pushed the ball down the right and Gibb moved it on to Malcolm Poskett who sent two defenders the wrong way.

He chipped over an inch perfect cross for Bob Newton to power home a header. It was his fifth goal in four FA Cup ties that season and he was the leading scorer in the competition at the time.

The Hartlepool Mail reporter at the time said: “While the 11 men out on the pitch performed like heroes, what about the crowd?

“Not for many years has a crowd got behind the team like they did on Saturday, and for the first time in my memory the chanting of ‘United United’ came not only from the faithful Rink End but also from the two stands and the paddock in front of the Mill House stand.”

Player-coach George Smith was picked out as one of the heroes and he said at the time: “I’ve played in front of some big crowds in my time but Saturday’s supporters made more noise than 20,000 do at Middlesbrough.

“If a stranger had walked in near the end of the game he would not have believed it if he had been told that only 9,000 people were making that noise. It was beyond belief.”

There were heroes galore - Eric McMordie, Tommy Gibb, Posket, Malone and, of course, Bob Newton.

A late scare came when Palace hit the Pools bar in the last minute. But it was Pools who progressed and their reward for an outstanding performance was an away tie at Ipswich Town.

Sadly, Pools went out 4-1 but not before putting up another heroic display against Bobby Robson’s team.