Six thousand fans watch Pools head for the top

Adam Boyd scores his second from the spot.
Adam Boyd scores his second from the spot.

Pools were heading for the top echelons of the league table in December 2004.

Buoyed by a 5-1 thrashing of Wrexham a week earlier, the team were back at Victoria Park to face Oldham Athletic in front of a crowd of more than 6,500 fans.

Joel Porter goes close.

Joel Porter goes close.

They were hoping Hartlepool would climb even further up the table, and the team did not disappoint, thanks to two first half Adam Boyd penalties.

In fact, it was the first time in nearly ten years that Pools had scored twice from the spot in one match.

Neale Cooper stuck with the same team which had great success on the road just before Christmas. His loyalty brought its rewards in a match which saw Pools show real confidence.

This was a match in which yellow cards made regular appearances. There were eight of them.

It was a case of mind games as keeper and striker came face to ace again. Pogliacomi decided Boydwas going to place it in the opposite corner and dived accordingly. Boyd stuck to his guns and one again put it in the bottom left.

Hartlepool Mail reporter 2004

Pools took the lead on six minutes when Will Haining clipped Tony Sweeney’s ankles as he ran into the box.

Up stepped Boyd and he planted it low into the left hand corner of the net, with the visiting keeper Pogliacomi staying rooted to the spot.

Just like a week earlier, Pools were 2-0 up within 23 minutes.

Micky Nelson had made his way into opposition territory and placed a through ball perfectly for Chris Westwood.

The Pools defender stretched to get a foot on the ball but just as he did so, he was pulled back by Kevin Betsy and referee Prosser pointed to the spot once more.

This time, Pogliacomi tried to anticipate the striker’s shot. But Boyd stuck to his guns and placed the ball in exactly the same part of the goal as his first penalty.

Oldham began to come back into the match and Dimi Konstantopolous helped keep Pools’ 2-0 advantage until the 64th minute.

A free kick on the edge of the box was crossed to the back post where right-back Dean Holden scored.

It signalled even more pressure from the visitors and they almost squared the game when Hughes delivered a tremendous shot which smashed off the top of the bar.

Athletic manager Brian Talbot made a double substitution with Scott Vernon and Alex Bruce coming on.

It led to periods where Pools were forced to defend deeply, but Micky Nelson seemed to be constantly on hand to clear.

It was one of Nelson’s clearances which almost restored Pools’ two-goal lead. His long-range ball upfield bounced in front of Pogliacomi who managed to scramble back and catch it before it landed in the back of the net.

Niggles crept into the game, especially when a spilled cross by Konstantopolous led to a melee which resulted in a booking for Holden.

But after six minutes of nerve-wracking injury time, it was Pools who took all the points.

Hartlepool: Konstantopolous, Ross, Westwood, Nelson, Robertson, Williams (Strachan), Sweeney, Tinkler, Humphreys, Boyd (Appleby), Porter (Istead). Subs not used; Provett, Craddock.

Oldham: Pogliacomi, Holden, Haining, Hall, Griffin, Croft, Hughes, Kilkenny, Eyres (Bruce), Betsy (Vernon), Eyre. Subs not used: Mildenhall, Bonner, Appleby.

Attendance; 6,520.

Referee: Phil Prosser (Pontefract).