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The day Pools thrashed the opposition 1-0

Bob Newton was one of those in red-hot form against Crewe.
Bob Newton was one of those in red-hot form against Crewe.

What a difference a season makes.

In the 1977-78 campaign, Pools had to wait until the end of December 1977 to reach 15 points from their away-game tally.

This game shows why I needn’t worry too much about our away form

Billy Horner

A year later, they had amassed the same total by October and a 1-0 victory at Crewe was their latest triumph.

In fact, it could have been an even wider margin as Pools were threatening a landslide which was only stopped by the form of home keeper Peter Caswell.

He got in the way of shots from Bob Newton, Keith Houchen, Wayne Goldthorpe and plenty of others as well.

The away form was in stark contrast to Pools at the Victoria Ground where, according to the Hartlepool Mail reporter at the time, they looked nervous on some occasions and over-confident on others.

Away from home, said our writer, “they are allowed to get on with their natural game and are under no self-inflicted pressure to produce good performances.”

The latest result left them four points behind the top four teams and the display at Crewe was described as “professional, disciplined, determined and skilful.”

Crewe were described as being very lucky to get away with a 1-0 loss.

The first half saw Pools tear into their opponents and they had at least four clear chances. Weak finishing and Caswell’s heroics were all that kept them at bay.

The goal they did score was a team effort. It happened on 32 minutes when Ayre picked the ball up on the halfway line and split the defence with a through ball to Newton.

He went on a powerful run before sending in a cross from the goal line.

Ayre had continued his run forward and won the ball at the near post. His header was blocked on the line where Trevor Smith stormed in to force the ball in.

All that happened before the break and Crewe came out with a different outlook in the second half. They threw more men forward but the Pool defence stood firm.

Steve Brookes was winning everything in the air, Billy Ayre was performing heroics and both George and Trevor Smith were always keen to contribute.

Crewe were limited to one good chance to Dai Davies who got in a close range volley, only for Jim Platt to pull off a miraculous save.

Derek Loadwick gott praise for a “wonderful game in midfield” and Pools boss Billy Horner said afterwards: “This game shows why I needn’t worry too much about our away form.”