TWENTY years ago this weekend Pools were third-bottom of the league - just as they are going into tomorrow’s clash at York - and just as desperate to avoid the drop.
The fate of their opponents at The Vic 20 years ago could serve as a warning, with Torquay United currently languishing in the lower reaches of English football’s fifth tier.
Better late than never was the collective sigh from the terraces as Pools finally found the net in the last minute of the game on Saturday, April 15, 1995.
Seconds later elation turned to despair as Torquay’s Richard Hancox popped up to equalise before Scouse referee Kevin Breen calmed things down by blowing the final whistle.
Pools had started brightly, with Stephen Halliday testing Torquay keeper Ashley Bayes with a looping cross-cum-shot in the opening minute and a fired-up Paul Thompson charging in to get on the end of an Anthony Skedd free-kick in the fifth minute but heading wide.
But there was a warning for Pools in the 10th minute when Gulls striker Ellis Laight got the better of stand-in centre-backs Damian Henderson and Denny Ingram, requiring swift action from Pools keeper Brian Horne, who came off his line to clear the danger.
Pools’ top scorer Keith Houchen thought he had broken the deadlock after 30 minutes, but his powerful header brought a fine save from Bayes.
Just after the restart Ingram should have walked after dragging down Laight when the Torquay hitman was through on goal with only Horne to beat.
But referee Breen settled for a yellow card and the subsequent free-kick was driven wide.
Henderson was having his own problems with the lively Laight, but managed to get forward in the last minute and scrambled home what looked like being the game’s only goal.
But with the ecstatic home fans still celebrating there was just enough time for Hancox to snatch the dramatic equaliser.
Team: Horne, Reddish, Skedd, Oliver, Henderson, Ingram, Halliday, Thompson, Houchen, Sloan, Southall. Subs: Cook, Lynch, Jones..