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Unforgiven: Hartlepool Report

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 21/03/2004

A stinking shocker of an afternoon in the boogie wonderland. A howling, raging gale swirled across the pitch through the open corner between the Pontoon and the Findus/Stones/Smiths stand, and that was just the fans.

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > Hartlepool (h)

Grimsby Town 0 Hartlepool United 2
20 Mar 2004, Nationwide League Division 2

Sheets of sleeting rain, with the occasional sunny break, and pigeons flying backwards as they struggled towards their perches atop the TV gantry. What an apt description of Stuart Campbell.

Town warmed up with a bit of circular one-touch passing, otherwise known as a confused lump of nonsense. Perhaps they wished the game to be called off? Not a fanciful notion given the swinging speakers above the managers’ dug outs and the advertising boards on top of the Main Stand creaking, groaning, flapping and wobbling like Rolf Harris. Can you tell what it is yet? It won’t be football.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, as shown. The French Tony Currie? No, more like the French Mansaram. Tall, gangly, he looks like he’s playing the wrong sport, a thought fortified by his pre-match kick-about with his brother in arms, the Dazzler. Mansaram looked the more skilled and accurate passer. There’s a first. Any point in analysing the first XI? Of course not. Centre backs in defence, scuffly battlers in midfield (and Campbell), with two white feathers up front.

Hartlepool, dressed in red, were walking the dog along the beach. They had a couple of hairstyles of the rich and famous, most notably their reserve ‘keeper, who sported the fashionable bleached scruffy mop. Apart from that, and having two tubby pub players in midfield, Humphreys and the enormous pie eater of old Hutton Henry, Mr Tinkler, there was nothing exceptional to report.

Firemen inspected the Main Stand and the dentists were told not sit in the first five rows. Perhaps they’d also instructed Law to secure small, lightweight items. Thorrington couldn’t be allowed to play as he’d be in danger of being blown out of the ground, later found washed up in Humberston Fitties. At least the Duck of Dearth wasn’t starting: Hamilton unforgiven and unused.

Do I have to tell you about the game?

1st half

Town kicked off towards the Pontoon, chipped up the centre, headed out for a throw in underneath the rocking, swaying Police Box. Edwards rolled the ball infield, a pass, a flick, Campbell free, past his marker and near the bye-line. Captain Cardboard crossed to the near post where Scott Walker didn’t make it easy for himself by controlling the ball with his knee and looking amazed when wee Jonny Rowan whisked the ball away and...the referee gave a free kick for handball.

It rained, the wind blew in strange and unusual ways, almost upending Barnard when he attempted to surge down the left on a break away. Even the thickest trees can be toppled if their roots are not deep. Hartlepool had an attack in the first 10 minutes. Through the sheets of white rain it appeared as though Warhurst headed a cross out for a corner. Fettis’s drop kick went North, then West, then South West ending up as a throw in about 25 yards out. The rain came again, the ball and players disappeared into the whiteness, emerging on the half way line with Coldicott crunching and setting Jevons free down the left.

Youngyellow card
Barnardyellow card


Crowe45 mins
Mansaram81 mins
Antoine-Curier46 mins


Lee Mason


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The report continues in Part Two.

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