Three months without an away win that season came to an end on a winter’s day in Halifax. And the man who grabbed the winner was the most deserving of all for praise.

Craig Midgley hammers home the winner for Pools.
Craig Midgley hammers home the winner for Pools.

It was a bit of an understatement to say Pools had waited quite some time for an away win in 2000.

In fact, it was only when Craig Midgley blasted home a 71st minute cracker that Hartlepool United recorded their first triumph on the roads in three months.

Paul Stephenson charges forward for Pools.

Paul Stephenson charges forward for Pools.

It was fitting, though, that it was Midgley who notched the winner. He was playing some of the best football of his life even though he’d had to sit on the sidelines earlier in the season.

The £10,000 buy from Bradford City hadn’t enjoyed the best of fortunes that season.

He was due for a comeback in a home game against Northampton only to break his collarbone in a training ground accident.

But Midgley got his head down and worked so hard, he just had to be given a chance.

The travelling support of more than 400 Poolies were in fine voice throughout and they had something to sing about on the 71st minute

Mail reporter, 2000

It was Midgley who was involved in the first chance of the game on five minutes when he crossed for Paul Stephenson whose shot was rifled straight at the Halifax Town keeper Lee Butler.

At the other end, James Sharp was having a majestic game at the back. He was in for the suspended Gary Strodder but our reporter said at the time: “He will prove hard to shift when the veteran stopper comes back into contention for Saturday’s visit of Barnet.”

Pools were looking comfortable and dominated the first half but there was always the fear Halifax would sneak the opener.

They came close but without hitting the net and, in the second half, it was Pools who took the lead.

As our reporter put it at the time: “The travelling support of more than 400 Poolies were in fine voice throughout and they had something to sing about on the 71st minute.”

A great move involving Paul Stephenson and Paul Arnison eventually reached Midgley after Tommy Miller went up for a challenge on the keeper.

Midgley latched on to the spilled ball and made sure of the goal by blasting the ball into the net.

The home side stepped up the pressure on the away goal but Pools held out and even had more chances of their own. Mark Tinkler had a crack at goal but his effort did not trouble Butler.

However, the one strike was enough to give Pools their first away victory since a September 9 win at Blackpool.

Midgley may only have netted for the second time that season but his unselfish play had not gone unnoticed.

Our reporter in 2000 paid tribute to his support play for fellow striker Kevin Henderson.