Oh for a hatful more goals!
If Pools had them by November 1985, they would have been in the top two of the Fourth Division table. As it was, they were still doing very nicely even if they were getting by on narrow wins.
This home tie with Tranmere was a case in point. Nigel Walker put Pools one-up on 25 minutes but a string of three or four chances had gone begging before that.
Even after going a goal up, Pools dominated for the rest of the first half but could not add to their advantage. Throughout the first 45 minute, keeper Eddie Blackburn never looked like being threatened in the Hartlepool goal.
Then they took the lead when Walker was in the right place at the right time to slide home a deflected shot from John Borthwick.
Other chances had gone begging to Borthwick who failed to connect to a Walker cross in the second minute.
With almost half the season over, Pool certainly look like the promotion side a lot of fans thought they would beHartlepool Mail reporter 1985
A beautiful shot from Brian Honour was turned round the post by the former Sunderland keeper Barry Siddall.
On 15 minutes, Honour went close again before Borthwick had another chance when he beat two defenders. But his final effort didn’t carry enough strength to get past the keeper.
Even after they scored, and when Tranmere finally went on the attack, the Hartlepool defence never looked troubled.
Yet the second half was a different matter and the home crowd was willing the final whistle to go.
Much of the second 45 was bogged down in a midfield battle and the Pools forwards, Alan Shoulder and Paul Dobson, rarely received decent ball.
Yet there was still much to be positive about. Billingham lad David Robinson stood in for Roy Hogan and was outstanding.
David Linighan gave another masterly performance under the watchful gaze of numerous visiting scouts and Brian Honour was as good as anyone.
The Hartlepool Mail reporter at the time said: “It was a great team performance for 60 per cent of the game.”
Pools manager Billy Horner also said at the time: “We tortured them but let them off the hook. I am concerned that we are not getting the goals our play deserved but I am sure they will come eventually.”
The positives included the news that two experienced midfielders as well as striker Bob Newton were all on the way back after being ruled out for the match.
The Mail reporter added: “With almost half the season over, Pool certainly look like the promotion side a lot of fans thought they would be.”