It could have all gone wrong from as early as 90 seconds into this December 2000 match for Pools.
That’s when Martin Carruthers stepped up for Southend United to take a penalty.
It was not a case of hanging on until the end for Pools. They kept calm and continued to push forwardHartlepool Mail reporter, 2000
But up stepped a Pools hero - or rather, he got down and stretched to keep out the visitors’ effort.
Life got even better for the home team when Tommy Miller took the second penalty kick of the game on 26 minutes.
But he showed no hesitation in blasting his shot past Daryl Flahavan in the visitors goal.
But apart from two penalties, there was enough for the Victoria Park fans to feel happy about anyway in a Pools display full of promise.
Many fans on the Hartlepool Mail readers panel thought it was the best they had seen Pools play for ages.
It certainly was a big game for Mark Tinkler who was up against his former team and his ex-teammates made sure he knew all about.
Three of the Southend bookings were for fouls on Tinkler but he had the last laugh when he earned the penalty which won the game for Pools.
He went down in the box under a challenge from Whelan.
The overall team performance was a welcome boost for the fans who had endured a dismal away day at Cardiff just days earlier.
This time, they were treated to an entertaining first half with Craig Midgley in great form and teaming up well with Kevin Henderson.
Pools looked lively and could easily have gone ahead long before they took the lead.
Midgley had two good chances including one which Flahavan had to push away from 30 yards. And Miller did well to turn his defender and shoot at goal from an angle.
Tinkler himself almost scored a cracker when his 25 yard drive had to be palmed away by Flahavan.
In the second half, Midgley went close after a one-two with Miller and Pools kept pushing right until the end.
The Hartlepool Mail reporter at the time said: “It was not a case of hanging on until the end for Pools. They kept calm and continued to push forward.”
The reporter added: “If only they could do that every week.”
Hartlepool: Williams, Arnison, Westwood, Strodder, Barron, Clark, Tinkler, Stephenson, Miller, Henderson (Sperrevik), Midley. Subs not used: Hollund, Knowles, Shilton, Boyd.
Southend: Flahavan, McSweeney, Searle, Williamson, (Morley), Roget, Whelan, Johnson, Lee, Forbes, Abbey, Carruthers (Cross). Subs not used; Porter, Fitzpatrick, Kerrigan.