Bielby breaks the deadlock for Pools in a howling gale

Barry Endean on the attack for Pools against Halifax.
Barry Endean on the attack for Pools against Halifax.

There are times when you play well and get nothing for your efforts.

This was the opposite. Pools rarely looked like getting going in a real four-pointer clash at Victoria Park in early 1977.

Billy Horner.

Billy Horner.

And yet it all changed when Paul Bielby came on as a second half substitute and scored with his first kick of the match just 30 seconds after entering the field of play. Before that, 65 minutes had passed with barely any threat from Pools.

Our reporter at the time said: “A strong blustery wind spoilt the game for long spells and Hartlepool had to struggle to overcome a hard-working and often skilful Halifax.”

Both teams also had to wrestle with a gale which was blowing straight across the pitch. Manager Billy Horner said after the game: “I can’t make any excuses for the poor entertainment, but naturally I am delighted with two more home points and another clean sheet.”

Fans watched a match in which the conditions were so blustery, the ball was bouncing “all over the place”, said the manager.

A strong blustery wind spoilt the game for long spells and Hartlepool had to struggle to overcome a hard-working and often skilful Halifax

Hartlepool Mail reporter, 1977

Halifax had showed plenty of early signs of having the skills to beat Pools. They went close on three minutes when it was only the bounce of the ball which stopped Bullock from getting on the end of a Hoy cross.

On eight minutes, they had a brilliant chance to take the lead when Carroll was unmarked as he bore down on goal. But he delayed long enough for the Pools defenders to get back.

And the chances kept coming for the visitors, who were playing a short passing game, which was ideal for the conditions.

It was only in the second half that the home team perked up, much to the delight of the crowd of less than 2,000 fans.

And they were rewarded on 65 minutes when Malcolm Poskett cut inside from the left and sent a good left-footed ball into Barry Endean.

He went up for it with the Halifax centre half Chris Dunleavy and the ball broke to Jon O’Donnell for Pools.

The midfield man snatched at his shot which was going wide until it reached Bielby. With his back to goal, he stuck out his left foot and changed the direction of the shot completely.

Hartlepool: Edgar, Creamer, Wiggett, Elliott, Goad, Simpkin, Scaife, McMordie, Endean, Poskett, O’Donnell. Sub; Bielby.

Halifax: Leonard, Trainer, Loska, McGill, Dunleavy, Phelan, Hoy, Carroll, Bullock, Ferguson, Johnston. Sub; Bell.

Referee: Mr WB Johnson (Kendal).