It might have taken until the last few weeks of the season but it was worth it.
Mark Lawrence scored Hartlepool’s quickest goal of the campaign on Saturday, April 25, 1981, against a Peterborough side which was chasing promotion.
The game was only 31 seconds old when he did it, and although Pools pressed to secure victory, it was a late leveller which ended the match at 1-1.
This was a classy Hartlepool outfit. It had Keith Houchen up front, England triallist Paul Staff in the ranks and Andy Linighan in defence.
Their rivals were in the top five but our reporter said: “Pools often made them look like also-rans.
“Their superiority for most of the game was based on some good work in midfield where Lawrence, getting back to his better form, was outstanding.”
Peterborough attacked first with Gynn storming forward but the raid was broken up and Hogan sent Houchen away on the right.
He saw the unmarked Lawrence on the left and “chipped over a fine ball”. Lawrence had time to control it, move forward and beat Waugh with a low shot from the edge of the box.
It was the marker for Pools to launch a series of raids on the home defence. Our report said: “Staff’s skill was looking like a major bonus for the Pool attack.”
Towards the end of the half, Peterborough came back into the game but could not find a way to equalise.
And by the second half, Pools were back in command with one particular shot from Brown knocking the keeper off his feet on 61 minutes.
Peterborough were becoming more desperate by the minute and were trying everything they knew to get an equaliser.
And with less than five minutes to go, a scrambled goal got them back on terms.
A left wing corner was cleared to Gynn and his cross from the left was headed against the Pools bar by Slack as the home team threw their defenders forward.
Linighan managed to block one follow-up shot but Foster did eventually force the ball over the line – marking a downside to what had otherwise been one of the best Pools performances of the season.
Peterborough: Waugh, Winters, Phillips, Gynn, Slack, Foster, Gallagher, Kellock, Cooke, Hodgson, Robson. Sub Cliss.
Hartlepool: Richardson, Linacre, Sweeney, Lawrence, Bird, Brown, Kerr, Linighan, Staff, Houchen, Hogan. Sub Hampton.
Referee: K. Baker (Rugby).