A case for the defence in 2004

Anthony Sweeney.
Anthony Sweeney.

Some goalless draws are instantly forgettable.

This wasn’t. It was a game which, at the time, was described as the sort of draw that could win Pools promotion.

Dimi Konstantopoulos.

Dimi Konstantopoulos.

It was a game where defenders were very much on top.

It was a game where the Pools manager tried to influence the match by changing both strikers at half time.

Chris Turner’s aim was to terrorise the opposition defence by bringing on two rising stars with young legs and lots of pace.

Appleby and Istead certainly did their best but the likes of Smith, Butler, Coles, Hill and Wilkshire were not going to be shifted in the Bristol City back line.

Only a moment of madness or a slip of concentration was going to see the deadlock broken

Hartlepool Mail reporter 2004

Similarly, Ross, Westwood, Nelson, and Robertson - in front of the commanding Konstantopoulos - were just as determined in the Pools defence.

Fans from both sides were treated to a midfield tussle for much of the opening half an hour, and the first real attempt on goal only came after that.

After half time, Istead and Appleby were brought on and it was Istead who went up front with Appleby, and Eifion Williams remaining on the wing.

Yet as the match wore on, neither set of attackers found it easy to provide quality service for the front men.

City brought on Scott Murray to replace former Middlesbrough player Luke Wilkshire seven minutes into the second half.

Bristol City manager Paul Tinnion was directing the substitution calls from the middle of the park where he was playing as well as managing.

And as the match wore on, it looked as if his calls were going to have an effect as Bristol began to close in on Dimi Konstantopolous’ goal.

Pools, though, were not devoid of attacking intentions and forced a telling save from Phillips on 70 minutes when Istead spotted the keeper off his line. He tried to chip him from 30 yards out but the keeper just managed to back pedal and tip the ball over the bar.

Pools had another crack on the home goal six minutes later when a free kick was floated in by Robertson. Ritchie Humphreys headed it on and Istead picked it up. He laid it off for Tinkler who blasted a 22-yard shot goalwards. It swerved though just at the wrong moment and sent the ball just to the wrong side of the post.

At the other end, Murray’s 30-yard effort similarly just flew past the post.

And there was a late hairy moment for Pools when a corner was deflected off Tinkler. Konstantopoulos, though, was alert to the danger and managed to change his direction to move back along his line and pull off the save.

The Mail reporter said at the time: “Only a moment of madness or a slip of concentration was going to see the deadlock broken.”

But it never came and two quality teams emerged with a point each.

Bristol City: Phillips, Smith, Butler, Coles, Hill, Wilkshire, (Murray), Orr, Tinnion, Bell, (Cotterill), Lita, Heffernan, (Miller); Subs not used, Doherty, Fortune.

Hartlepool: Konstantopoulos, Ross, Westwood, Nelson, Robertson, Williams, Sweeney, Tinkler, Humphreys, Boyd (Appleby), Porter (Istead), Subs not used, Provett, Robson, Strachan.

Attendance; 13,034.

Referee: Richard Beeby (Northants).