Hartlepool United had promotion in sight when they took on Wrexham back in 1991

Paul Baker battles for the ball with a pair of Wrexham players on April 20, 1991.
Paul Baker battles for the ball with a pair of Wrexham players on April 20, 1991.

Pools were chasing promotion to Division Three when the team took on struggling Wrexham on April 20, 1991. The game was supposed to be a walkover, but it wasn’t.

Acting boss Alan Murray insisted before the game against Wrexham on April 20, 1991, that he couldn’t promise a goal-glut - and it was just as well.

Brian Honour during a match against Shrewsbury.

Brian Honour during a match against Shrewsbury.

On paper the encounter between promotion-chasing Pools and lowly Wrexham - 91st in the Barclay League - had all the makings of a walkover.

In the end Pools had to settle for victory by an odd goal, but did enough to suggest they didn’t intend to lose sight of their Division Three target.

Wrexham’s player/coach Joey Jones twice had to clear off his line, while goalie Mark Morris demonstrated why he had attracted the attention of Manchester United.

Heavy overnight and morning snow left the pitch in such a state that referee Terry Lunt was keen to postpone the game when he first arrived at the Vic.

And second half injuries to Ian Bennyworth and the imaginative John Tinkler “hardly helped the cause either”, according to the Mail.

But barely 15 seconds had elapsed before Morris had to charge out of his area to bundle the ball away from Joe Allon - and it was the shape of things to come.

After nine minutes Morris dived to save a fierce shot from Paul Dalton, then both Bennyworth and Paul Olsson miscued in front of the goal.

Dalton had another chance to score after Allon sent him clear, but after manoeuvring past Andy Thackeray on the edge of the box, he sent the ball over the bar.

The inevitable opening goal came after 35 minutes, when Bennyworth’s free kick, from inside his own half, was nodded on by John MacPhail in the Wrexham box.

Allon then swept the ball away from Joey Jones’ feet and slammed it into the net for Hartlepool from a close range.

Four minutes later Rob McKinnon’s cross was met by Baker at the far post. The Pools skipper headed it in to make the score 2-0 - with little hassle from Wrexham.

Pools continued to pile on the pressure as the game continued, with Jones making the first of his on-the-line clearances in the final minutes of the first half.

Morris also saved a low dive by McKinnon just before the whistle blew, after the Pools lad managed to get the ball past both Thackeray and Jon Bowden.

The second half saw Morris defy Allon twice more, before palming a powerful effort by Baker round the post.

But, without Bennyworth and Tinkler, Pools began to lose their way a little - and the visitors pulled it back to 2-1 with 12 minutes to go.

Wrexham’s fightback began after Murray went down following a challenge by Brian Honour just outside the Pools area - earning them a free kick.

Referee Lunt then ordered the set piece to be taken again after booking John MacPhail for encroaching; although he didn’t appear to move until after the kick.

The second kick was, according to the Mail, “a beauty”. Robert Jones thumped it into the top corner, leaving Kevin Poole and his wall helpless.

But there was no denying Poole’s dedication in the dying minutes, when he made a crucial save from Lee Jones - saving the match for Hartlepool.

“Pools still have promotion in their sight,” said the Mail. Indeed, the team would go on to win that promotion.