`

Pools cruise to best win of the season in 1974.

Action from the Pools game against Mansfield.
Action from the Pools game against Mansfield.

So the winning run finally came to an end.

After a string of fine results which had surged Hartlepool United up the league table, a 3-0 reverse to Gillingham had put a stop to that.

Don Heath who scored for Pools against Mansfield.

Don Heath who scored for Pools against Mansfield.

It was a setback but not a fatal one.

Pools showed their mettle in the very next game when they stormed to a win, which our reporter described at the time as the best of the season.

The 4-0 triumph over Mansfield was both classy and powerful, and played out in front of a crowd of more than 4,000 people.

The writing was on the wall for visitors in the first minute when Pools pressured Kevin Bird into heading a corner onto his own bar.

In the first half particularly, the players looked hungry for work and gave the impression that they were playing two-touch football. It was this approach which mesmerised Mansfield and had them chasing shadows all over the field

Hartlepool Mail reporter, 1974

If that hadn’t opened the scoring, it was only eight more minutes before Pools did strike.

It was a beauty too. Jimmy Shoulder sent over an inch perfect cross for Kevin McMahon who powered home a header off a defender’s hand.

McMahon doubled his account 19 minutes later when Malcolm Moore beat his man on the left and raced to the goal-line. He cut inside and sent over a cross which Alan Gauden fored towards the goal.

McMahon raced in to help the shot over the line before Mansfield keeper Rod Arnold could get to it.

If the visitors had any thoughts of recovery, they were soon wiped out. Moore was the instigator once more. He slipped a short pass to Don Heath who fired in a 30-yard diagonal shot just inside the far post.

The second half was a different story. Mansfield tried hard to get back into the game but Pools looked confident in the way they were defending.

And to add to their comfort, Barry Watling’s positioning in goal meant every save he had to make looked easy.

Pools made absolutely sure of the win on 55 minutes when McMahon headed on a right wing cross. Gauden got on the end of it and Arnold could only parry for Moore to finish off the move.

Our reporter said at the time: “It was a team effort from Hartlepool which earned this result. How many times has that been said recently?

“In the first half particularly, the players looked hungry for work and gave the impression that they were playing two-touch football.

“It was this approach which mesmerised Mansfield and had them chasing shadows all over the field.”

Hartlepool were a yard faster to the ball and into the tackle, said the Hartlepool Mail reporter.