In an ebb and flow game, any result could have been possible.
And that remained the case even until the dying seconds when both sides could have clinched the match, only to see great chances missed. Although a draw was no surprise to the pundits, the manner in which it was achieved certainly was.
Rochdale were at the foot of the table going into the game in April 1987. Pools weren’t faring much better themselves and both were among seven teams who would eventually finish the season with just three points between them at the foot of the table - although it would be Lincoln City who would finish bottom of the pile.
This was a close-fought encounter but it was Rochdale who came out looking the more eager. Keith Nobbs had to come to the rescue early on when Rochdale centre half Bramhall was presented with an open goal. The Pools player managed to take the ball off Bramhall’s toe for a timely clearance.
The visitors’ left winger smashed a shot off the Pools post and then Hartlepool went close when Nigel Walker had a chance six yards out but his shot went back across the goal and wide.
The game was goal-less until the second half when Rochdale went on the attack again.
Both sides had a marvellous chance to clinch three vital points in the dying secondsHartlepool Mail reporter, 1987
A succession of shots rained in on the home goal and both Nobbs and Stokle kept the first ones out. Then, though, the ball fell to Stokle who drove fiercely through the crowd and scored, with the ball taking a deflection.
Pools got back into it when the referee gave a penalty to the home side after he judged Walker had been fouled by Grant in the penalty area.
Shoulder stepped up and converted, and it led to a period of pressure for Pools.
Then came that frenzied finale in which Pools had the first opportunity to win it. The ball fell to Shoulder who shot from the six yard box but it flew over.
Then Rochdale went close in injury time when Young flicked a throw-in on to Lyndon Simmonds who was unmarked in the box.
His header, though, rebounded off the crossbar and went behind for a free kick. The game ended with a result which the Mail reporter at the time described as “fair.”
Hartlepool: Blackburn, Nobbs, McKinnon, McLean, Smith, Stokle, Barratt, Shoulder, Dixon, Walker, Toman. Sub; Gibb.
Rochdale: Welch, Johnson, Grant, Stanton, Bramhall, Smart, Reid, Simmonds, Young, Conning, Hudson. Sub: Wakenshaw.