You would never think they’d been on a 16-game winless run!

Pools were totally dominant in this encounter at the Victoria Ground 40 years ago.

By Chris Cordner
Friday, 31 May, 2019, 11:00
Pools in action at the Victoria Ground in 1979.

The Hartlepool side always looked a better outfit against a Huddersfield team which struggled to get through a back line which included the returning Steve Brookes as well as Watson in goal, Goldthorpe, and Gorry.

But it was the midfield which laid the foundations for success and it included John Linacre and Derek Loadwick who had great games.

Player-coach George Smith was also in fine form despite only just returning to the team after an injury lay-off with an Achilles tendon problem.

Despite it being May, the weather was definitely wintry and a heavy sleet shower fell on Hartlepool just before kick-off.

On a slippery surface, Pools still went on the attack from the off.

They had plenty of chances to make the breakthrough but the home team only took the lead on 33 minutes.

Norton took Pools eighth corner from the left and his inswinger to the far post had the Huddersfield keeper Starling fooled. Visiting defender Robins was covering the far post but all he could do was head the ball into his own net.

Instead of spurring Huddersfield into a response, the goal only served to increase Pools’ taste for more goals.

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“They deserved them,” said a Hartlepool Mail report at the time. “They had been playing far better than Huddersfield who were being forced to give away a string of free kicks in their own half as the home team pushed forward well.”

Pools nearly doubled their lead on 44 minutes when Norton nipped in smartly to rob Starling of a back pass.

But he had a bad angle for his shot on the right of the box. His effort hit the base of the post and was scrambled away.

The second half saw much more of an exchange of attacks between the two sides with Lawrence going closest for the home team.

But then came the second goal on 59 minutes. Linacre sent a long ball down the right after good work by Lawrence. Houchen did well to beat Hanvey just inside the box and broke clear. He hammered a tremendous shot towards goal and Starling did well to stop it.

But Norton reached the ball to push it into an empty net.

The Mail report at the time said: “Pools were now comfortably on control and, able to relax more than they have for weeks, were playing plenty of good football. Anybody watching them for the first time must have been wondering how they could go 16 games without a win.”