Everyone loves a trier, said the story.
But in September 1982, Pools had 11 of them as they battled through a hard-fought Milk Cup tie with Chesterfield to reach the next round.
It was only the first time in eight years that Hartlepool had reached the second round of the competition. Last time, they went out to Aston Villa.
This time, the reward was a two-leg tie with Derby County.
Our reporter at the tkme described the game against Chesterfield as “one of the most entertaining games seen at the Victoria Ground for a long time, and there can be little doubt that those who watched it will come back for more.”
The victory was a deserved one and Pools display was all the more impressive as Chesterfield were trying to defend their first-leg lead.
One of the most entertaining games seen at the Victoria Ground for a long time, and there can be little doubt that those who watched it will come back for more.Hartlepool Mail reporter, 1982
The downside was that only 1,122 people saw the match and even that was Pools’ biggest crowd of the season so far.
There were heroes galore but perhaps the biggest of them all was Phil Linacre who played despite suffering a depressed fracture of the cheekbone just three weeks earlier.
The signs looked promising in the first half when Pools buzzed all round their opponents. Their reward was a 40th minute goal from Alan Barker, who was described as “a real find.”
It was his first full game since signing from Bishop Auckland.
The goal came when Phil Brown took a corner, Andy Linighan forced John Turner to drop the ball and it ran loose to Barker who blasted home from close range.
Chesterfield changed their style for the second half and went for Pools from the start, but despite strong pressure John Watson made some fine saves in the home goal.
The match went to extra time which the Mail’s reporter described as “a bonus because nobody could complain about the entertainment value of the first 90 minutes.”
Just three minutes into extra time, Terry Bainbridge scored the clincher and what a beauty it was.
Described as “one of the most under-rated players”, he beat a couple of men near the halfway line and sent Lawrence away on the right.
Lawrence put the cross in and Bainbridge, who had kept on running, beat the keeper with a lobbed header which found its way into the top corner of the net.
Manager Billy Horner said afterwards: “A goal like that deserves to win any match. It was a gem.”
And there were few in the crowd who would disagree.