Hartlepool United 2019-20 National League away day guide - August
With the National League season now underway, we take a look at Hartlepool United’s four away trips in the opening month of the campaign.
Tuesday, August 6 (7:45pm) – Halifax Town
Ground: The Shay
Capacity (previous crowd v Pools): 8,231 (2,360)
Distance from Hartlepool: 102 miles (2nd closest trip)
Driven route: A19 + A1
Journey time (approx): 1 hour 50 minutes
Ticket prices: £20 adult, £17 concession, £9 12-17 , £5 under-12, £3 under-7
Hartlepool’s first away game of the 2019-20 season will see them make the short Tuesday night trip to Halifax Town.
The Shaymen are now under new management with former Oldham Athletic boss Pete Wild taking change following Jamie Fullarton’s departure.
Last September’s bout at The Shay was one of the more memorable away trips of the 2018-19 campaign.
Over 1,000 Poolies made the trip down as goals from Liam Noble and Nicky Featherstone saw United run-out as 2-1 winners over a Halifax side who finished the game with nine men.
Despite both sides making solid starts to the season, Halifax and Hartlepool ended the campaign in 15th and 16th place respectively with only goal difference separating them.
A positive summer for Pools will have them looking up the table rather than down going into the new season though Halifax’s main goal will be to stay in the division having lost their manager and key player in Matty Kosylo over the summer.
Saturday, August 10 (3:00pm) – Maidenhead United
Ground: York Road
Capacity (previous crowd v Pools): 4,000 (1,157)
Distance from Hartlepool: 264 miles (10th furthest trip)
Driven route: M1
Journey time (approx): 4 hours 30 minutes
Ticket prices: £15 adult, £10 concession, £5 under-16
Another away game which saw Pools’ opponents have a player sent off last season, the trip to Maidenhead will be the first Saturday trip of the campaign.
The previous meeting between the sides at York Road was won by a long-range effort from Josh Hawkes inside the opening 20-minutes. Maidenhead’s James Comley was shown a straight red card soon after half-time for a challenge on Luke James as Pools claimed a 1-0 win.
The Magpies were an interesting side last season as they were able to stay up relatively comfortably despite often looking out of their depth and leaking goals in the opening half of the campaign.
Despite the distance, Maidenhead can be one of the more desirable away trips for supporters given the ground’s incredibly close proximity to a train station which has direct connections to London Paddington.
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York Road is also recognised by the FA and FIFA as the oldest continuously-used senior association football ground in the world used by the same club with Maidenhead occupying the traditional non-league stadium since 1871. It’s a must-visit for any National League ground-hopper.
Saturday, August 24 (3:00pm) – Chorley
Ground: Victory Park
Distance from Hartlepool: 140 miles (7th closest trip)
Driven route: M62
Journey time (approx): 2 hours 25 minutes
Ticket prices: £15 adult, £12 concession, £7 18-21, £5 12-17, £1 under-12
Hartlepool will make their first league trip to Chorley’s Victory Park for a Bank Holiday weekend match against the National League newcomers.
Pools’ only previous meeting with The Magpies (not to be confused with previous away opponents Maidenhead) came in an FA Cup first round clash at Victory Park in November 1987.
Chorley returned to the fifth tier for the first time since 1990 after beating Pools’ neighbours Spennymoor Town on penalties in the National League North play-off final.
The summer acquisition of experienced forward Chris Holroyd from Wrexham could prove to be a shrewd piece of business. The 32-year-old scored 17 goals in 65 appearances for the Dragons over two play-off challenging seasons.
The National League North has provided several competitive promoted sides in recent seasons with the 2016-17 and 2017-18 champions AFC Fylde and Salford City competing in the National League play-off final back in May. Harrogate Town also secured a play-off place last term after earning promotion from the sixth tier.
Whether Chorley have enough backing to go the same way as those sides remains to be seen as they could prove to be a bit of an unknown quantity this coming season.
Saturday, August 31 (3:00pm) – Torquay United
Capacity (previous crowd v Pools): 6,500 (1,987)
Distance from Hartlepool: 365 miles (furthest trip)
Driven route: M5
Journey time (approx): 6 hours 5 minutes
Ticket prices: £15 adult, £13 concession, £9 under-18, free under-7
When Torquay were promoted back to the National League at the first attempt, the majority of sides sighed as their longest away trip for the 2019-20 was confirmed.
And no more so than Hartlepool, who have the furthest to travel of any side in the fifth tier when they make the journey down to Plainmoor on the last weekend in August.
Flying from Newcastle to Exeter and then getting the train could be a practical option for those who are looking to avoid a 12+ hour round trip on the road.
Despite being a newly promoted side, Torquay will be looking to compete at the right end of the table on their return and could be another example of relegation proving to be an opportunity for the club to rebuild and come back stronger.
And Pools’ boss Craig Hignett is pleased to get the trip out of the way early as he said: “It’s helpful that we get one of our longest away trips in Torquay done and dusted fairly early on and glancing at August it would seem pretty kind in terms of travelling.
“We haven’t got too many mammoth trips that month apart from to Plainmoor so it’s a bonus.”