Three-sy does it for classy Pools in 1980 away day

John Bird.
John Bird.

It was their best start to their season for many a year.

With little general Bobby Kerr leading the play from midfield, John Bird looking classy at centre half and new boy Geoff Forster bagging a brace of goals, it was pretty much the dream way to start a campaign.

Bobby Kerr.

Bobby Kerr.

Yet it looked like it might have been a frustrating outcome to this Fourth Division tie after the first 45 minutes.

Pools and Wigan were goalless at half time despite Hartlepool having a string of chances. Each went begging.

On the positive side, it was an encouraging first half against a team which was second favourites to win the division.

What a difference the half time break made.

After the disappointment of the League Cup ties against York, this was a highly promising league opener

Hartlepool Mail reporter, 1980

Pools came out and scored within one minute and 20 seconds of the restart - and what a great move it was to open their account.

Clever work in midfield led to Hogan chipping it forward for Kerr in the box.

He chested it down into the path of Forster who blasted the shot home from 15 yards before the keeper could make a move.

The same link-up play almost worked a treat again soon after. This time, Kerr crossed for Forster who caught the ball with an overhead kick.

Unfortunately, it went straight into the hands of the keeper.

Wigan rallied and almost equalised when Pools keeper Burleigh had to push out a shot from Brown before saving it at the second attempt.

Pools doubled their lead on 72 minutes when Hogan crossed for Forster who belted in a second from close range.

Then it was Burleigh’s turn to become the hero.

The keeper preserved the 2-0 lead with a brilliant one-handed save from a Hutchinson header.

Victory was assured on 84 minutes when Hampton sent Forster away on the left. He crossed for Houchen who scored from five yards.

The Hartlepool Mail reporter on the day said: “After the disappointment of the League Cup ties against York, this was a highly promising league opener.”

There was also praise for Kerr who was “playing the sort of role which earned him the tag of ‘General’ at Sunderland.”

Hartlepool United: Burleigh, P Brown, Sweeney, Hogan, Bird, Fagan, Linacre, Kerr, Houchen, Forster, Hampton. Sub; Harding.

Wigan: J Brown, Fretwell, Whittle, Gore, Methven, Davids, McMullen, Wright, Houghton, Hutchinson, T Quinn. Sub: M Quinn.

Referee: PT Richardson (Lincoln).