Was this Pools best ever performance?

Paul Stephenson scores a belter of a goal to open the scoring against Barnet.
Paul Stephenson scores a belter of a goal to open the scoring against Barnet.

Twenty years had passed since Pools hit a team for six in a competitive game.

That all changed in December 2000 as Pools hammered Barnet, and manager Chris Turner reckoned it could have been even more if the pitch had been in better shape.

Craig Midgley nets one of his hat-trick of goals.

Craig Midgley nets one of his hat-trick of goals.

“We could have got nine or ten,” said the Pools manager at the time.

Craig Midgley was the man who did a lot of the damage with a hat-trick of headed goals. “Saturday was a day I will remember forever,” he said after the game.

On the opposite side, Tony Cottee had rested himself from the Barnet team after he had netted a hat-trick against Scunthorpe the previous week.

This time his team was on the receiving end, and it all started in the third minute in spectacular style. Paul Stephenson was only a yard into the Barnet half when he picked up the ball and went on a mazy run which took him past five defenders. He unleashed a low drive which beat Danny Naisbitt.

Saturday was a day I will remember forever

Craig Midgley

The second was only six minutes later when Midgley got on the end of an Ian Clark cross to head home.

And by the 38th minute, it was three as Clark again provided the cross for Midgley to hit the net once more.

Pools went 18 minutes without putting the ball in the net after that. On 56 minutes, it was the Clark-Midgley combination once again as a free kick from Clark was well met by Midgley who flicked on from the near post.

Next, on 71 minutes, Tommy Miller put Kevin Henderson through and he tucked the ball away in style.

Just six minutes later, it was five when Stephenson intercepted and played a one-two with Miller before crossing for Tinkler to slide the ball home.

The scoring was finished by Barnet when Tony Richards headed in at the far post, but it had been all Pools against a team which was one of their rivals for a promotion spot from League Division Three that season.

The quiz buffs will know that Pools’ previous six-goal win was against Crewe Alexandra, 20 years before the Barnet thrashing.

A crowd of 3,133 was there to see one of the best Pools performances in years.

Hartlepool: Williams, Arnison, Barron, Westwood, Sharp, Miller, Tinkler, Stephenson, Clark, Midgley, (Lormor), Henderson (Sperrevik). Subs not used; Hollund, Shilton, Fitzpatrick.

Barnet: Naisbitt, Stockley, Arber, Heald, Niven, Currie, Goodhind, Brown (Gledhill), Sawyers (Purser), Richards, Riza (Toms). Subs not used: Harrison, Bell.

Referee: Roger Furnandiz (Doncaster).