Two minutes of drama! What a fight back in this London trip to remember for Pools

Joe Allon who struck twice to put Pools right back into this hard-fought clash.
Joe Allon who struck twice to put Pools right back into this hard-fought clash.

Sometimes, a great fight back can make for the best entertainment.

It was definitely the case for Pools when, 23 years ago, they headed for London to take on Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Keith Houchen.

Keith Houchen.

And for the vast part of the match, it looked as if it was going to be a gloomy trip home to the North East.

Pools trailed 2-0 with little more than ten minutes of the match to go and with the Londoners pressing hard.

But Fulham hadn’t reckoned with the striker skills of Joe Allon and not only did he claw Pools back into the game, he almost nicked it for the visitors.

After early pressure from Hartlepool, Fulham came into the match and almost scored in the 18th minute when Rodney McAree blasted in an effort which Horne could only parry.

In the 80th minute, Allon grabbed his second when he rose well at the far post to head home a corner from McAuley to silence the home fans.

Hartlepool Mail reporter, 1996

The home team only had to wait one more minute, though, to make the breakthrough and it came from a ball from the left by Scott.

It reached Phil Barber whose neat touch took the ball past Horne.

Pools had chances to level but it was Fulham who ended the half strongest and had the visitors under the cosh.

A miscued clearance sent the ball back towards the Pools goal and Horne was forced to push the ball over. Then, with Pools still in disarray, there was a desperate bid to clear a corner from Marshall in injury time.

The scares for Pools kept on coming at the start of the second half. First, McAree latched on to a Robbie Herrea pass but Horne spread himself well to block the shot.

Then, Moore blasted a 15-yard shot towards goal which Horne also kept out.

But Fulham made it 2-0 on the 56th minute when Jupp delivered a free kick which Blake rose to reach. He powered it wide of Horne.

Pools tried to get back into it but a long spell of Fulham possession kept them at bay.

That was until the 78th minute.

Houchen, who had joined Joe Allon in the front partnership after Halliday had limped off injured, headed across the area for his strike partner and Allon nodded in.

Just two minutes later, McAuley crossed and Allon rose well at the far post to head home a corner.

The home fans had been silenced and Pools were keen for more. They looked rejuvenated and up for the fight.

They pushed for the win and a McAuley cross in the 84th minute only just evaded Allon.

And then, in the 89th minute, Tait battled his way through a crowded penalty area to fire over the bar.