RAIN clouds gathered threateningly over the Victoria Ground on January 23, 1926, as Hartlepools United prepared to take on Walsall in the Third League.
Fans and sports pundits expected little more than a hard-fought scrap for points. Instead, as the pitch was whipped by a strong breeze, Pools stormed to victory.
“Spectators who are always clamouring for goals, and plenty of them, had a surfeit on Saturday,” reported the Mail.
Foster won the toss for Pools; setting the scene for final victory. Within seconds, the home side players were making attack after attack on the Walsall goal.
None of the plays, however, proved fruitful - until Cecil Hardy took aim and fired a first-time shot home to “beat the custodian” after just ten minutes on the pitch.
The second goal for Pools followed “a little scrimmage in the visitors’ goalmouth” - with Best tapping the ball into the net. Wensley then headed in a third seconds later.
“Walsall seldom got beyond the half-way line and the spectators were merely thinking of the number of goals that would be piled up by Pools,” reported the Mail.
“The visitors did catch the home defence napping at one point - they were taking things too easily - and Felix took advantage of the lapse by banging the ball into the top of the net.
“But Pools then got another corner, and Foster headed on to the bar. On the rebound, Cecil Hardy put through. Sid Hardy put in a fifth - and it looked like a rout for Walsall.”
The game was not, however, yet over.
A rally by Walsall just before half-time saw Crockford score. But, even though Walsall scored once more in the second half - Pools hit home a further four.
“Hartlepools United piled up nine goals against Walsall, and had the distinction of being the highest scorers in English League football last weekend,” reported the Mail.
“The victory of the Pools was the biggest they have had since joining the section, and the margin by no means flattered them. Walsall was outplayed in all departments.”
* Teams: Hartlepools: Cowell, Lilley, Kell, Jobson, Foster, Richardson, Best, Carr, Wensley, C. Hardy and S. Hardy. Walsall: Lawley, Alcock, Crockford, Clark, Felix, Binks, Adams, Holt, Smith, Groves and Wait.
Also in the sporting news in 1926
A SURFEIT of goals were scored across the Football League on the day Hartlepools United beat Walsall 9-3 - although Pools were the highest scorers in England that day.
Other teams to pile up the goals included Doncaster Rovers, who put eight past Coventry, while Rotherham beat Wrexham by 6-2 and Lincoln City toppled Barrow 4-3.
The most successful North East team in 1926 was, however, Sunderland - who came third in the Football league; just behind Huddersfield Town and Arsenal. Bolton won the FA Cup.
• Gene Tunney defeated Jack Dempsey over ten rounds in Philadelphia to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
• Durham won the Minor Counties Cricket Championship, while the County Championship went to Lancashire. England regained the Ashes from Australia.
• Bobby Jones became the first golfer to win the British and US Open titles in the same year.
• Grand National-winning jockey Willie Watkinson died on April 19 - three weeks after his victory - following a fall at Bogside, Scotland.
• The first British Grand Prix was held at Brooklands on August 7. Frenchmen Robert Senechal and Louis Wagner, driving a Delage 15-S8, won.
• Wigan won the Rugby League Championship, while Dewsbury won the Yorkshire Cup, Swinton won the Lancashire Cup and Wigan also took the Lancashire League Cup.
• John Hawkes and Daphne Akhurst Cozens won the Australian Tennis Championships. Jean Borota (France) and Kitty McKane Godfree (GB)) won Wimbledon.