MEMORY LANE: Goals galore in Good Friday thrashing of Darlo

GOAL: Hartlepool v Darlington in the 1950s
GOAL: Hartlepool v Darlington in the 1950s

IT was goals galore in a Good Friday game which saw Pools take on Darlington - and finally banish their “penalty bogey” once and for all - on March 23, 1951.

Indeed, the match featured a hat-trick of penalties scored by John Willets. The first, and so far only, time this feat has been achieved.

“Pools started their Easter programme in brilliant style by beating their old rivals Darlington,” stated the Mail’s football pundit Tatler the following day.

“The penalty “bogey” went by the board when Willetts converted three spot-kicks and thus had the unusual distinction for a back of scoring three times.”

In addition to scoring six goals, Pools also forced dozens of corners - leaving the Darlington players looking rather relieved when the final whistle blew.

It was, however, the Feethams side who scored first - through amateur inside-left Clark, who was left with an open goal when Moore misjudged a bouncing ball.

But, according to Tatler, it was from this point on that Pools “really got to work”.

“The ball was moved from man to man with a speed and accuracy which bewildered the opposition,” he wrote.

“McClure was brought down in front of an open goal and Willetts smacked home the penalty as though he had never missed one in his life!”

A second penalty fell to Willetts after Wildon was fouled while dribbling round the Darlo goalie, and then a shot by Joe McKeown gave Pools a 3-1 interval lead.

McClure later made it four for Pools after “glorious close passing with the crafty McGuigan”, after which Wildon raced down the field to crack in a fifth.

“Darlington seemed to fold up in the face of a non-stop onslaught before which any defence might have wilted,” wrote Tatler.

“Then Pools were awarded still another penalty - and again Willetts scored. Dunn parried the first effort, but Willetts made no mistake on the rebound.

“Darlington were hopelessly outplayed, and had no answer to the craft of Pools - who dominated the game.”

l Team: Pools: Briggs, Whitelock, Willetts, Newton, Moore, Stamper, Burnett, McKeown, Wildon, McGuigan, McClure. Darlo: Dunn, Brown, Eves, Steel, O’Brien, Roddom, Hewitt, Yates, Murray, Clark, Galley.