The rise of a new Pools star in this 1975 encounter

Action from the Pools 1975 match with Stockport County.
Action from the Pools 1975 match with Stockport County.

It looked destined to be the perfect debut for Pools newest star Kevin Johnson in 1975.

A goal after nine minutes and Stockport County defenders running so scared of him, two of them ended up in the referee’s notebook.

Kevin Johnson had a superb debut for Pools.

Kevin Johnson had a superb debut for Pools.

It was such a one-sided game early on that Pools looked set for a walkover, said the Hartlepool Mail reporter at the time.

But as this game wore on, it turned into a tense battle which remained in the balance right up until the final whistle.

Today, we look at the day that Kevin Johnson pulled on a Pools shirt for the first time at the Vic and made a big impression from the start.

Our reporter said: “The form of Kevin Johnson, making his home debut for Hartlepool, brightened what was otherwise a drab afternoon when struggling Stcokport were the visitors to the Victoria Ground.”

Stockport were looking weak in every department and were beaten at will on the ground and in the air

Hartlepool Mail reporter

It had all started so well when a quick throw-in on the right was well controlled by Moore. He turned and fed the ball to Johnson who hammered a fine volley into the roof of the net.

Our reporter said: “Stockport were looking weak in every department and were beaten at will on the ground and in the air.”

Pools were back on the attack when Honour sent an angled shot towards goal but it curled just wide of the post.

Ogley had to punch the ball out on 23 minutes when Johnson was on the end of a cross but his shot was deflected to safety when it seemed destined to go in.

Then came the bookings as the visitors struggled to cope with Johnson’s trickery.

Kirk and Lloyd were both yellow carded and Hartlepool “were beginning to motor,” said the 1980 report of the game.

Yet just as Stockport seemed to be destined for defeat, they mounted a strong comeback with a series of good attacks, particularly on the 39th minute when a fine ball from Kirk split the home defence and gave Hollis a chance to shoot.

But he was forced wide into an angle and Watling was well positioned to save.

Pools started the second half with no rhythm and Stockport were keen to take advantage. Only last-ditch interventions from Goad, and Johnson saved the home team on two occasions, and the visitors’ pressure paid off on 78 minutes when Hollis raced into the box only to be brought down by Watling.

Full back Graham Crowther stepped up to take the penalty and scored easily from the spot with the tie finishing 1-1.