Another late, late show saw Pools beat Northampton

Derek Hampton fires home the first for Pools.
Derek Hampton fires home the first for Pools.

Late winning goals were becoming something of a Hartlepool speciality in 1980.

They’d done it a week earlier against Bournemouth, and this time it was Northampton who were on the receiving end.

Bob Newton goes close to adding a second for Pools.

Bob Newton goes close to adding a second for Pools.

And it was Keith Houchen who fired home an 86th-minute winner in a finely-balanced tie where the pitch was tricky to play on and the wind was making it even worse.

It was a scrappy affair and just under 2,000 fans watched as Pools went on the offensive in the first half.

They were clearly hoping to avoid their speciality act that season. They had lost the lead on 11 previous occasions.

It meant manager Billy Horner missed the action while he was away on a scouting mission.

But back on the pitch, Steve Brooks was playing at centre half for the first time back in the team after nine weeks out.

Mark Lawrence was playing in his fourth different position in four weeks, and this time he was at left-back.

Most of the early attacks went to Pools, and Bob Newton went particularly close when Sweeney and Linacre’s move was brought down by the forward.

His shot only narrowly went wide of the post.

Ayre had a great chance on 22 minutes but missed in front of goal, but three minutes later the home team took the lead.

Fowler played the ball down the right and Linacre helped it on for Houchen.

He beat his man and spotted Hampton, who was racing up the pitch. The square pass was perfect for Hampton to take in his stride and hammer into the back of the net.

The second half was a different story and Northampton came right back into the game.

Their threats to equalise paid off on 65 minutes when a left-wing corner by Heeley was headed on in the middle, and Ingram was left to slide the ball home at the far post.

Within two minutes, Pools should have been ahead again when Harding got a 25-yard shot through the Northampton defence.

The keeper’s save came back out to Linacre, whose ball into the middle appeared to hit Sandercock’s hand.

However, the winner did come on 86 minutes. Hampton was sent clear on the left, and when a good cross reached the middle, Newton was there to cause trouble for the visitors.

The ball reached Houchen, whose first shot was blocked, but it came back to him and he made no mistake from six yards out to fire Pools ahead with what turned out to be the winner.