Hartlepool United’s FA Cup six of the best

Ken Johnson scores for Pools against Manchester United in front of 17,264 fans at the Victoria Ground during the memorable FA Cup third round tie back in 1957.
Ken Johnson scores for Pools against Manchester United in front of 17,264 fans at the Victoria Ground during the memorable FA Cup third round tie back in 1957.

After six of the worst, SportMail delivers Hartlepool United’s six of the best in the FA Cup.

There have been plenty of highlights across the decades but here are the pick. What do you think?

A ticket for the famous Pools v Manchester United tie in 1957

A ticket for the famous Pools v Manchester United tie in 1957

1. Pools 1 Crystal Palace 0

Third round 1992-93

Until Neale Cooper’s two years at the Vic, these were the best times to be a Poolie, up at the top end of Division Two (League One in old money) and playing some great football.

Little did we know it would all start going horribly wrong after one of the club’s finest hours.

Pools had drawn Premiership Crystal Palace in the third round and BBC sent their Match of the Day cameras.

On a bone-hard pitch and in freezing temperatures, Pools relished the contest and the Londoners, with a very, very strong side, decided they would play for a 0-0 and take Alan Murray’s side back to Selhurst Park for a replay.

But late on, winger Nicky Southall fell theatrically in the box under Richard Shaw’s challenge. Referee Dermot Gallagher ‘bought it’ and pointed to the spot.

Andy Saville beat Nigel Martyn from 12 yards at the Rink End and Pools were famous!

2. Pools 2 Crystal Palace 1

Third round 1977-78

Poor Palace, beaten again!

Yes, Pools had some previous with the South Londoners, the great coach Terry Venables bringing his gifted, young side to the Victoria Ground for this thirds-round clash.

Crystal Palace were in the Second Division (old Championship) but were soon to be dubbed ‘The Team of the Eighties’.

However, Billy Horner had a good side of his own, with Billy Ayre commanding the backline and Bob Newton and Malcolm Poskett up front.

Newton was Pools’ hero, scoring both goals as Pools set up a fourth-round trip to Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town.

The great run ended at Portman Road where Derek Downing found the net in a 4-1 defeat to the First Division outfit who went on to lift the FA Cup at Wembley in May.

3. Pools 2 Stoke City 0

Third round, 2008-09

Pools caused the big upset on this third round weekend with a well-deserved victory over Premier League side Stoke.

Chris Turner’s side had already claimed a top-flight scalp that season by ousting West Brom from the League Cup.

But this was even better against Tony Pulis’s side, who made it their business to be big, awkward and hard to beat.

The League One side took the lead just after the break when Matty Robson’s free-kick was headed in at close range by Michael Nelson.

And the match-clincher was a beauty, young David Foley’s stunning 30-yarder flying past fellow South Tynesider Steve Simonsen in the City goal.

Alan Curbishley described the goal as “terrific” on the ITV highlights show while Pulis was gracious in defeat, praising Pools rather than making excuses that he’d changed half his team.

4. Pools 2 Derby County 1

Second round, 1984-85

In terms of league positions this was perhaps no massive upset – Pools were going nicely in the Fourth Division and the once-mighty Derby County had found themselves in the Third Division.

But this was a FA-mous day for Pools and boss Billy Horner, who had lowered Terry Venables colours in 1978.

It seemed to be going to script in the first half as the Rams went in front.

This tie was during the height of hooliganism and, at half-time, the police were struggling to contain violence in three out of four sides at the Vic.

Thankfully, the afternoon was remembered for what happened on the field and Poolie lad Mark Taylor, now part of Sam Allardyce’s backroom staff at Sunderland, fired home a superb equaliser.

And when Kevin Dixon showed brilliant footwork in a muddy Derby box at the Rink End, Pools were through. What a day.

5. Pools 1 Bournemouth 1

Fourth round, 1988-89

Bob Moncur’s Pools were on a great run in the FA Cup, putting out Wigan, Notts County and Bristol City so far before Harry Redknapp brought his Cherries to the Vic.

An upset looked on the cards when Brian Honour put Pools ahead, but Bournemouth pulled level after the break when ex-Watford, AC Milan and England striker Luther Blissett beat Rob Moverley from the penalty spot.

But Pools went agonisingly close to a dramatic late winner when Andy Toman’s effort was inches wide.

More than 1,000 Pools fans trekked to Dorset for the replay, Moncur’s brave side going out 5-2, with Toman and Joe Allon getting the away goals.

6. Pools 3 Manchester United 4

Third round, 1956-57

If you have relatives of a certain age, they will tell you they were at the Victoria Ground for this David v Goliath contest.

As it was, the official attendance must have been wrong, it says ‘only’ 17,264 were there, not the 50,000 who said they were there!

Manchester United boss Matt Busby brought a side many footy historians rate as one of the best, only for the Munich Air Disaster to intervene.

The Busby Babes raced in front through Billy Whelan, Johnny Berry and Tommy Taylor, but back came Pools through Frankie Stamper, Tommy Johnson and Jackie Newton.

At 3-3, a replay beckoned, only for Whelan to hit the winner.

Seven of the Manchester United XI died in the Munich disaster – Roger Byrne, Eddie Coleman, Mark Jones, Duncan Edwards, Whelan, Tommy Taylor and David Pegg.