The Pools heroes who shone through the rainstorm

The Hartlepool team for the 1980/1981 season.
The Hartlepool team for the 1980/1981 season.

A goalkeeper and a centre half were the heroes in this game which was played in attrocious conditions.

It was only a handful of games into the 1980/1981 season but the only weather which was not thrown at this match was snow and ice.

Graham Richardson.

Graham Richardson.

Heavy rain was driving almost horizontally towards the Town End. Players were skidding all over the pitch and struggling to get decent control on the ball.

Any pass of more than 15ft tended to go astray but none of this bothered Graham Richardson.

The Hartlepool reserve keeper who was only in the team because Martin Burleigh was out with a hamstring injury.

But Richardson made a string of outstanding saves to keep Pools in the match. Four minutes in, he had to stretch backwards to prevent an own goal and on 28 minutes, he got to a 20-yard shot even though it had been deflected.

He was there to save Pools again on 53 minutes when Snowdin raced in from the left to cross for Doncaster’s Warboys.

But Richardson dashed out to save at his feet and Ayre had to intervene and complete the clearance.

Only four more minutes went by when Little tried his luck with a long range effort which Richardson did well to stop at the second attempt.

And he saved Pools yet again when he got down to a 30 yard effort from Pugh.

Pools sub Houchen was brought in to replace the team’s leading scorer Forster and there was a change at the back as well.

Lawrence had to drop deeper as John Bird was limping and had to swap his centre half spot for a place further up the field. A knee injury seemed to be affecting his movement but it was not enough to stop him from having a decisive influence on the game.

First, on 81 minutes, he had the Doncaster defence scrambling to get the ball clear when a cross from Houchen was just fingertipped away by Doncaster’s Boyd.

But four minutes later, a free kick on the left was worked to Kerr who sent over a fine cross for Bird to head home from close range.

Hartlepool: Richardson, Fagan, Brown, Hogan, Bird, Ayre, Linacre, Kerr, Lawrence, Foster, Harding. Substitute; Houchen.

Doncaster: Boyd, Russell, Bates, Lister, Saunders, Dowd, Pugh, Mell, Warboys, Snowdin, Little. Substitute; Flanagan.

Referee: Mr K Walmsley (Blackpool).

Attendance, 2,110.