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More Like Bluff Than Clough Actually


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MORE LIKE BLUFF THAN CLOUGH ACTUALLY

Being a follower of British football means that I do know of Brian Clough, but I don’t know of “the man and the legend†to perhaps the same degree as someone who is actually in Britain. Based on what I do know and what I’ve read here, I’m taking up the Brian Clough challenge and writing a story about a man who is convinced that he is the best that there is when it comes to football management. He has only to say that something is achievable and his team of (mediocre) players will of course go out and do it. Well, that is what he believes anyway.

Game info: CM01/02 3.9.68 with latest Sawczuk data update (Aug 2004) and all English leagues running.

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MORE LIKE BLUFF THAN CLOUGH ACTUALLY

Being a follower of British football means that I do know of Brian Clough, but I don’t know of “the man and the legend†to perhaps the same degree as someone who is actually in Britain. Based on what I do know and what I’ve read here, I’m taking up the Brian Clough challenge and writing a story about a man who is convinced that he is the best that there is when it comes to football management. He has only to say that something is achievable and his team of (mediocre) players will of course go out and do it. Well, that is what he believes anyway.

Game info: CM01/02 3.9.68 with latest Sawczuk data update (Aug 2004) and all English leagues running.

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17th July 2001:

Brian Clough walked into Victoria Park to take up his new duties as manager of Hartlepool United. He had just finished a playing career where he had scored hundreds of goals at a phenomenal strike rate. He’d been a fantastic goalscorer and now he would be a fantastic manager.

Chairman Ken Hodcroft was the first man to greet Clough as he entered the office to begin his new job on 14th July 2001.

KH: Hello Brian, welcome to Hartlepool.

BC: Hello Ken, you lucky beggar.

KH: Why’s that, Brian?

BC: Well, now that I’m here this club can really start to go places.

KH: Eh? Oh, right!! Well I’m glad to see you’re confident about the job.

BC: Definitely Ken. I am the going to be best manager in England.

KH: Lucky us, eh?

BC: Too right, Ken. Now get me a list of the playing squad, will you?

Ken thought it was prudent to agree with Brian and went to his office to produce the list. He returned and handed it to Brian who then ran his eye over the names contained on it.

Goalkeepers:

Kevin Duncan 23 GK

Jim Provett 21 GK

Defenders:

Michael Barron 29 SW/D C

Jonathan Bass 28 D R

John Brackstone 18 D L

Andy Jordan 24 D C

Michael Nelson 21 D C

Jack Ross 28 D/DM R

Adam Van Dommele 20 D L

Chris Westwood 27 D C

Midfielders:

Darrell Clarke 26 AM/F C

Ritchie Humphreys 26 AM/F LC

Steven Istead 18 M C

Ryan McCann 23 AM L

Hugh Robertson 29 DM LC

Matty Robson 19 DM L

Paul Stephenson 36 AM RLC

Gavin Strachan 25 DM C

Anthony Sweeney 21 M C

Mark Tinkler 30 DM C

Martin Woods 18 M C (on loan from Leeds United)

Forwards:

Adam Boyd 22 S C

Joel Porter 25 S C

Eifion Williams 28 S C

Brian rubbed his chin with his right hand. He made interesting noises that seemed to indicate that he was thinking deeply about what he saw on the piece of paper. After a couple of minutes of musing, Brian spoke.

BC: Lovely Ken. It looks like that’s a promotion-winning squad to me.

KH: Promotion. You’re that confident?

BC: Oh yes. Now be a good fellow and organise me a three-game tour of Wales so that I can test the players.

Ken Hodcroft hurried off to his office. He felt strangely compelled to do whatever Brian told him. It was certainly going to be an interesting season for Hartlepool United.

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July 2001:

Ken was a good organiser. He lined up three games in Wales against Maestag Park, Rhayader and Ton Pentre. He also got an addition fixture against Ipswich that he hoped would please Brian.

On the day of the first game against Ipswich, Brian and Ken watched the players warm up. Ken had left control of the team to Brian and had not stuck his head in to ask how things were going. But then again, Brian hadn’t came to the Chairman and asked for anything more either.

BC: Ken, I’ll be revolutionising the tactics of this club starting with today’s match against Ipswich.

KH: How do you mean, Brian?

BC: There will be no wing play. Straight down the middle for my team and me. No full-backs, no wingers, let the opposition have the ball out there because that’s not where goals are scored.

KH: Ah, sort of Wimbledon “crazy gang era†long-ball stuff, Brian?

BC: No Ken. It will be more revolutionary than that. Just you watch and see.

Ken nodded in pretend understanding. As usual he felt strangely compelled to do whatever Brian told him.

The friendly against Ipswich started and Hartlepool scored in the 1st minute though Humphreys. In quick succession Robertson (17th), Clarke (21st), Williams (26th) and Porter (29th) all scored. It was 5-0 after half an hour and Ken was gobsmacked. This Brian Clough fellow really knew his football. Ipswich sorted themselves out and decided to defend, so that slowed down the scoring and it stayed 5-0 until the break. Brian made several changes for the second half and Ipswich got back into the game. Bowditch (54th) and Bent (81st) scored for the visitors, but Hartlepool still won 5-2.

Then it was off to Wales for the three-match tour. Maestag Park offered little resistance and were beaten 3-0 with Boyd and a double to loan signing Woods being the scorers. Rhayader were beaten 2-0 with Boyd and McCann the men on target. Finally it was Ton Pentre and another 2-0 win, this time with Porter getting two including a penalty.

Four friendlies – four wins. It was a great start for Brain Clough at Hartlepool, but then again, he always knew that he was up to the task.

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August 2001:

The start of the Division 2 season saw Oldham come to Victoria Park on the opening day. Bonner opened the scoring for Oldham and Ken Hodcroft thought that this is where we will see how good a manager this Brian Clough fellow is. Obviously he was a pretty good manager because Woods, Porter and Williams all replied in a devastating eight-minute spell early in the second half for Hartlepool to post a 3-1 win.

Ken thought that an away game at Bristol City would be a good test of the team and Brian’s tactics. Not much of a test as it turned out. Hartlepool controlled the match after Amankwaah put through his own goal on 12 minutes, then Strachan and Woods iced the cake with goals in the second half. It was a 3-0 win and Hartlepool were suddenly on top after two rounds.

A trip to fellow Division 2 side Tranmere for the 1st Round of the League Cup was next on the agenda. Hume fired Tranmere in front early and they held that lead until half-time. Another withering burst of attacking play and Williams, Porter, Clarke and McCann all netted to register a 4-1 win.

Chesterfield were the visitors for the first of the Bank Holiday long weekend of matches. Brian had the team performing like a well-oiled machine and Porter headed the opener. Chesterfield replied through Hudson to make it 1-1, then the machine went into overdrive. Clarke tapped in, Porter volleyed his second and Humphreys nutmegged the keeper to push it out to 4-1 at half-time. Things slowed in the second half for Hartlepool and Chesterfield scored another through Brandon, but Clough’s team still won 4-2.

However it was a tired team that backed up on the Monday to face Brentford in London. Williams strained knee ligaments and limped off. His replacement Boyd had a shocker and Ekoku and Burton each scored for Brentford to register a 2-0 win which consigned Hartlepool to their first loss of the season.

Ken was very happy with 4th place at the end of the opening month of the season. He approached Brian and asked him his opinion of how things had gone so far.

KH: So Brian, what’s your opinion of how things have gone so far?

BC: I’m happy Ken, very happy. Young Martin Woods has been an inspired loan signing from Leeds by me.

KH: I think you’ll find that he was already here when you arrived, Brian.

BC: Oh, I suppose you could argue that. My management certainly has inspired him though and he has been bossing the midfield for us.

KH: The antipodean Joel Porter has certainly been amongst the goals, hasn’t he?

BC: Ken, I think you’ll find that Porter is an Australian. But yes, his goals have been vital.

KH: And your tactics, Brian? What is that number sequence again?

BC: 2-3-3-2, Ken. Imagine the sidelines as two pieces of bread and our players as the top quality ham in the middle. Well, what I’ve done is remove those useless pieces of cheese that usually sit either side of the ham. It’s now a much better sandwich as a result.

KH: So you don’t like cheese then? Is that what you are saying?

BC: It’s a bit too much for your limited mind to take in, Ken. Just go and get me a cup of tea please, there’s a good fellow.

Ken nodded and headed off towards the kitchen. As usual he felt strangely compelled to do whatever Brian told him.

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<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

English Second Division - Friday 31st August 2001

************************************************************************************************

================================================================================================

2001/2 Table

================================================================================================

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Barnsley 4 2 0 0 3 1 2 0 0 3 1 12

2nd Blackpool 4 2 0 0 4 0 1 1 0 4 2 10

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Doncaster 4 2 0 0 6 3 1 1 0 3 1 10

4th HARTLEPOOL 4 2 0 0 7 3 1 0 1 3 2 9

5th Stockport 4 2 0 0 8 4 0 2 0 3 3 8

6th Brentford 4 1 1 0 3 1 1 1 0 2 1 8

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7th Torquay 4 2 0 0 4 2 0 2 0 2 2 8

8th Port Vale 4 1 1 0 4 2 1 0 1 2 2 7

9th Sheff Wed 4 2 0 0 3 0 0 0 2 4 7 6

10th Tranmere 4 0 2 1 4 5 1 0 0 3 1 5

11th Swindon 4 1 1 0 4 3 0 1 1 4 5 5

12th Chesterfield 4 0 2 0 3 3 1 0 1 4 4 5

13th Colchester 4 1 1 0 5 2 0 1 1 1 4 5

14th Hull 4 1 0 0 3 0 0 1 2 0 3 4

15th MK Dons 4 1 1 0 4 2 0 0 2 1 4 4

16th Walsall 4 0 2 0 2 2 0 1 1 2 4 3

17th Luton 4 0 1 1 2 4 0 2 0 1 1 3

18th Bournemouth 4 0 2 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 4 3

19th Oldham 4 1 0 1 4 3 0 0 2 2 7 3

20th Wrexham 4 0 0 2 1 4 1 0 1 2 3 3

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

21st Huddersfield 4 0 1 1 2 3 0 1 1 4 6 2

22nd Bradford 4 0 1 1 1 3 0 1 1 1 2 2

23rd Peterborough 4 0 0 2 0 3 0 1 1 4 5 1

24th Bristol City 4 0 1 1 0 3 0 0 2 1 4 1

================================================================================================

2001/2 Goals

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Gls

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

6th Joel Porter Hartlepool 4 3

28th Martin Woods Hartlepool 4 2

================================================================================================

2001/2 Assists

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Asts

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

6th Hugh Robertson Hartlepool 4 2

12th Joel Porter Hartlepool 4 2

18th Martin Woods Hartlepool 4 2

22nd Eifion Williams Hartlepool 4 1

================================================================================================

2001/2 Average Rating

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Av R

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

2nd Joel Porter Hartlepool 4 8.25

15th Eifion Williams Hartlepool 4 7.75

26th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 4 7.75

================================================================================================

2001/2 Man of Match

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps MoM

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

29th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 4 1

</pre>

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September 2001:

Brian Clough had the team in good form as September began, but they needed the assistance of a red card as Doncaster came to Victoria Park and lead 2-0 early through Rigoglioso and Blundell. With Foster sent off on the half hour, Hartlepool was able to come back through Porter (2) before Clarke scored in the 87th minute for a 3-2 win.

A visit to Torquay produced no problems for the team as they swept to a three goal lead before conceding a consolation to Owen in the final minute. Before that Boyd, Woods and Porter had all found the net in the first half as the game ended 3-1 to the Pool.

The first top of the table clash of the season occurred on 12th September as 2nd placed Barnsley visited the league leaders Hartlepool. Brian selected the following team in his 2-3-3-2 formation:

Provett; Westwood, Jordan; Strachan, Tinkler, Robertson; Clarke, Woods, Humphries; Porter, Williams.

Hartlepool jumped out to a 2nd minute lead as Woods headed in Tinkler’s cross, but Nardiello equalised with a near-post shot in the 12th minute. Barnsley were probably shading things overall and Nardiello’s second goal, similar to his first, made it 1-2 in the 27th minute. Before Hartlepool could regain their composure Burgess headed in for 1-3 in the 30th minute. At half-time Brian informed his team that the performance wasn’t good for his growing reputation as a manager and that they needed to improve. Porter duly complied and pulled back a goal with a header after 54 minutes. With the score at 2-3 Hartlepool pressed for the equaliser for a lengthy period, but Burgess caught them out on a counter-attack and made it 2-4 in the 84th minute. The free-scoring Porter then buried Woods cross in the 87th minute for 3-4 before Chopra’s header in injury time made it 3-5 and sent Barnsley to the top of the Division 2 table.

After such a tough match it was a very tired team that went to Colchester three days later. Although Williams gave them the lead, Hartlepool surrendered to a Garcia equaliser and a Danns winner in a 2-1 loss.

A near capacity crowd of 7,600 fans was at Victoria Park for the visit of Premier League side Fulham in the League Cup 2nd Round. They left 90 minutes later in a very joyous mood after Woods rifled in the rebound from Porter’s blocked shot in the 64th minute to give Pool a fine 1-0 victory. Brian was very happy – it was the first of many giant-killing acts that he planned to pull off.

September was a busy month and still the games rolled on. Woods was proving to be an astute loan signing (by the previous manager, but don’t mention it in front of Brian) from Leeds and he scored again as he fired in a 43rd minute equaliser to cancel out Wellens 25th minute opener for Blackpool. That game at Victoria Park ended at 1-1.

For the final game of the month Hartlepool went to Huddersfield. Porter opened the scoring with a fine lob. Williams then supplied an unselfish assist as he headed back across goal for Porter to volley home to make it 2-0 at the break. Although Fowler scored a late consolation for Huddersfield it was not enough as Pool won 2-1 and finished the month in 5th place on the Division 2 table.

Brian made his first steps into the transfer market during September. Noting that he has only three out-and-out strikers and deciding that he needed some cover, Brian approached Ipswich and secured the season-long loan of 18 year old Craig Reid.

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<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

English Second Division - Sunday 30th September 2001

************************************************************************************************

================================================================================================

2001/2 Table

================================================================================================

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Barnsley 10 4 1 0 13 4 4 0 1 11 6 25

2nd Blackpool 10 5 0 0 13 2 2 2 1 9 7 23

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Hull 10 4 1 0 15 5 2 1 2 5 5 20

4th Stockport 10 5 0 0 16 6 1 2 2 9 10 20

5th HARTLEPOOL 10 3 1 1 14 11 3 0 2 9 6 19

6th Doncaster 10 3 2 0 11 7 2 1 2 8 9 18

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7th Port Vale 10 4 1 0 10 4 1 0 4 5 10 16

8th Brentford 10 1 2 2 8 8 3 1 1 12 10 15

9th Colchester 10 3 1 1 9 5 1 2 2 3 9 15

10th Torquay 10 3 1 1 8 7 1 2 2 5 9 15

11th Bournemouth 10 2 2 1 6 5 1 2 2 4 8 13

12th Tranmere 10 0 3 2 8 11 2 3 0 9 6 12

13th Sheff Wed 10 3 1 1 10 6 0 2 3 10 15 12

14th Swindon 10 3 2 0 13 6 0 1 4 7 15 12

15th Wrexham 10 1 2 2 7 7 2 1 2 8 9 12

16th Bradford 10 1 1 3 4 8 2 2 1 6 3 12

17th Luton 10 1 2 2 7 7 1 3 1 2 2 11

18th Bristol City 10 2 2 1 5 4 0 2 3 5 9 10

19th MK Dons 10 1 3 1 6 5 0 2 3 5 9 8

20th Chesterfield 10 0 4 1 7 9 1 1 3 5 8 8

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

21st Oldham 10 2 0 3 10 10 0 2 3 6 14 8

22nd Huddersfield 10 1 2 2 6 7 0 2 3 6 12 7

23rd Walsall 10 1 2 2 5 6 0 2 3 3 12 7

24th Peterborough 10 1 1 3 5 9 0 1 4 7 13 5

================================================================================================

2001/2 Goals

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Gls

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 10 10

18th Martin Woods Hartlepool 10 5

================================================================================================

2001/2 Assists

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Asts

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

11th Martin Woods Hartlepool 10 4

17th Hugh Robertson Hartlepool 9 3

30th Eifion Williams Hartlepool 7 2

================================================================================================

2001/2 Average Rating

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Av R

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 10 8.50

2nd Eifion Williams Hartlepool 7 8.00

15th Martin Woods Hartlepool 10 7.80

================================================================================================

2001/2 Man of Match

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps MoM

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

8th Joel Porter Hartlepool 10 3

21st Martin Woods Hartlepool 10 2

27th Eifion Williams Hartlepool 7 1

</pre>

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Originally posted by Spav:

_KH: So Brian, what’s your opinion of how things have gone so far?

BC: I’m happy Ken, very happy. Young _Martin Woods_ has been an inspired loan signing from Leeds by me.

KH: I think you’ll find that he was already here when you arrived, Brian.

BC: Oh, I suppose you could argue that. My management certainly has inspired him though and he has been bossing the midfield for us.

KH: The antipodean _Joel Porter_ has certainly been amongst the goals, hasn’t he?

BC: Ken, I think you’ll find that Porter is an Australian. But yes, his goals have been vital.

KH: And your tactics, Brian? What is that number sequence again?

BC: _2-3-3-2_, Ken. Imagine the sidelines as two pieces of bread and our players as the top quality ham in the middle. Well, what I’ve done is remove those useless pieces of cheese that usually sit either side of the ham. It’s now a much better sandwich as a result.

KH: So you don’t like cheese then? Is that what you are saying?

BC: It’s a bit too much for your limited mind to take in, Ken. Just go and get me a cup of tea please, there’s a good fellow._

icon_biggrin.gif Classic stuff, specially the antipodean bit, classic icon_biggrin.gif

Early season looks pretty good, KUTGW

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by OMDave:

Wish I had the know-how to put up tables half as impressive as yours icon_smile.gif

Enjoying the story. Keep it coming icon14.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Cheers OMDave. icon_smile.gif

CM01/02 always had the best-looking tables in my opinion. There's nothing special to what I have done, just saved all the stats from the competition/table screen to a text file and removed the lines that didn't have Hartlepool players on them, then cut and pasted straight into the thread with the [ CODE ] function.

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October 2001:

The month started off with the visit of 3rd placed Hull and Porter scored a 59th minute header before Keane worked his way through the centre of the Hartlepool defence to equalise for Hull after 72 minutes. The game ended in a 1-1 draw that was probably fair to both teams.

The next game at Peterborough saw the debut of loan signing Craig Reid. Reid had an immediate impact as he headed Pool into a 21st minute lead. Owen equalised for the home team on the half hour, but Humphreys rifled in a 20 yarder in the 68th minute and Reid scored his second with a fine volley in the 70th minute. To make his debut even more memorable Reid was then sent off after he pushed Burton to the ground. Even with ten men Pool were able to take it to 4-1 when Porter drove in the rebound from McCann’s shot 5 minutes from the end.

If the team was becoming complacent about their high position, then the visit of the 20th placed MK Dons woke them up. Porter scored his usual goal to open proceedings, but Tapp and Small replied in the second half to inflict a 2-1 home defeat on the high-flying Hartlepool. Brian was not happy with that performance and he went into a rage that would have had the boot-kicking Sir Alex Ferguson impressed. It just wasn’t good for his burgeoning reputation to have sloppy home defeats like that. There would be massive changes, he threatened, although with the size of the Hartlepool squad as it was, no-one dared ask where he was going to get these “new†players from.

Bournemouth took the brunt of the backlash from the players in the next game as Hartlepool visited them. A Reid hat-trick and a beautiful lob by Porter gave Pool a 4-0 win with all of the goals coming in the first half.

Lowly Walsall must have been worried about what sort of reception they would receive when they visited Victoria Park in late October. Porter was injured early in the match and Williams was his replacement. It made little difference as Williams open the scoring with a penalty before Reid and Woods pushed it out to 3-0. Corica scored for Walsall early in the second half that prompted a brief rally, but Williams scored again. A second penalty to Williams gave him a hat-trick and registered a 5-1 win for Hartlepool.

A resolute Bradford denied Hartlepool another win with a 0-0 draw at Valley Parade and Premier Division Blackburn Rovers were too good for Brian’s team as they won 2-0 in the 3rd Round of the League Cup at Ewood Park. Skipper Flitcroft got both of Blackburn’s goals as the month of October ended on a disappointing note.

At the end of the month Hartlepool received their first award for what had been a great start to the season when Joel Porter was named player of the month for Division 2. However the midfield lost it’s driving force when the loan period of Martin Woods came to an end and he returned to Leeds United. It had been a high-quality spell as the 18 year old had played 18 games, scoring 7 times and providing 6 assists as he racked up a 7.67 game rating average.

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<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

English Second Division - Wednesday 31st October 2001

************************************************************************************************

================================================================================================

2001/2 Table

================================================================================================

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Blackpool 16 6 1 1 16 6 4 3 1 16 10 34

2nd HARTLEPOOL 16 4 2 2 21 15 5 1 2 17 7 30

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Hull 16 7 1 0 24 9 2 2 4 6 10 30

4th Stockport 16 7 0 1 22 11 1 4 3 13 16 28

5th Barnsley 16 4 3 1 17 10 4 1 3 14 14 28

6th Doncaster 16 3 5 0 16 12 4 1 3 13 13 27

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7th Port Vale 16 5 3 0 15 8 2 2 4 13 15 26

8th Bristol City 16 5 2 1 12 7 2 3 3 11 12 26

9th Colchester 16 6 1 1 15 7 1 3 4 5 14 25

10th Swindon 16 5 3 0 22 12 1 3 4 15 22 24

11th Tranmere 16 2 4 2 14 14 3 4 1 15 11 23

12th Torquay 16 4 2 2 13 12 2 3 3 10 13 23

13th Luton 16 4 2 2 14 7 1 4 3 3 6 21

14th Bournemouth 16 2 4 2 7 10 2 4 2 11 14 20

15th Bradford 16 2 3 3 6 8 2 4 2 8 7 19

16th MK Dons 16 3 4 1 12 7 1 2 5 7 13 18

17th Wrexham 16 2 4 2 13 11 2 2 4 12 17 18

18th Sheff Wed 16 4 2 2 13 8 0 3 5 10 19 17

19th Brentford 16 1 3 4 14 17 3 1 4 14 18 16

20th Chesterfield 16 1 4 3 10 13 2 2 4 10 13 15

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

21st Huddersfield 16 3 3 2 13 11 0 2 6 9 20 14

22nd Peterborough 16 2 2 4 7 13 0 3 5 11 18 11

23rd Oldham 16 2 1 5 14 17 0 3 5 11 21 10

24th Walsall 16 1 4 3 11 13 0 3 5 4 18 10

================================================================================================

2001/2 Goals

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Gls

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 15 14

18th Craig Reid Hartlepool 4 (1) 6

26th Martin Woods Hartlepool 16 6

27th Eifion Williams Hartlepool 9 (1) 5

================================================================================================

2001/2 Assists

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Asts

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

9th Martin Woods Hartlepool 16 6

13th Hugh Robertson Hartlepool 15 5

================================================================================================

2001/2 Average Rating

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Av R

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 15 8.20

2nd Eifion Williams Hartlepool 9 (1) 8.00

12th Martin Woods Hartlepool 16 7.69

26th Gavin Strachan Hartlepool 16 7.50

================================================================================================

2001/2 Man of Match

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps MoM

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

12th Joel Porter Hartlepool 15 3

15th Martin Woods Hartlepool 16 3

17th Eifion Williams Hartlepool 9 (1) 2

</pre>

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November 2001:

If October had been busy in terms of the number of games played, then November was downright pedestrian. Just four Saturday games were on offer and the first was a visit to Wrexham. Reid had settled into the team nicely and he opened the scoring whilst McCann scored the second in a rare start on the left of midfield as Humphreys played in the middle in place of the departed Woods. Hartlepool won the match comfortably by 2-0.

Having had to send Martin Woods back to Leeds United, Brian then approached the Yorkshire club again, this time for the season-long loan of Jamie McMaster. The 21 year old Australian was on the fringe of the first team squad at Leeds, but they were prepared to let him go to Hartlepool for the remainder of the season.

Another road trip to was made to play Port Vale away and things looked good as Reid scored yet again. McMaster crashed in a volley on his debut before Paynter pulled one back on the stroke of half-time to leave Hartlepool 2-1 in front. A harsh penalty decision against keeper Provett gave Paynter the chance to equalise from the spot before Reid struck yet again with a hopeful long range effort. Birchall made it 3-3 with ten minutes to go and a ding-dong, end-to-end struggle erupted for the three points on offer. It was Port Vale who game out on top as Cummins grabbed an 88th minute winner in a 4-3 victory for the Stoke-based team.

The 1st Round of the FA Cup was next and a trip to play non-league Barrow AFC was made. Joel Porter had been out all of November with strained knee ligaments, but he returned for this game. Brian was looking forward to the pairing of Porter and Reid up front, but Reid was injured early and replaced by Williams. A hat-trick to Porter helped him celebrate his return to the team and substitute Istead score a late goal as Hartlepool cruised through to the next round with a 4-0 win.

Finally on the last Saturday of November the team was able to enjoy a match in front of their home fans for the first time in the month. Luton were the visitors and goals by Porter and Humphreys sent them home with nothing to show for their visit to Victoria Park except a 2-0 defeat

Chairman Ken Hodcroft was delighted with the team’s second placing in Division 2 at the end of the November. Maybe Brian was right – they really did have a promotion-winning squad on their hands. Ken had astutely avoided Brian during the month. Whenever they spoke Ken always felt like he was some sort of ignoramus in the presence of Brian. This was very odd because in all dealings with other people in relation to the running of the club, Ken was clearly the man in control. However their paths crossed after the Luton match at Ken warily approached Brian to offer his congratulations on the team’s performance.

KH: Brian, super performances by the team, well done.

BC: Thanks Ken. The old 2-3-3-2 system is certainly grinding out the results.

Ken was slightly worried already, but he knew about the 2-3-3-2 formation, so he felt safe in continuing.

KH: Ah yes, the ham sandwich tactic. Much better without all that cheese in there, eh Brian?

BC: Seeing as you’re using my metaphor there Ken, I’d have to agree with you.

Ken suddenly felt more at ease and decided to continue the “sandwich tone†of the conversation.

KH: So Brian, have you ever thought of pepping up the ham sandwich with a little bit of “dressingâ€, say some mustard or a bit of Branston pickle?

BC: Ken, are you suggesting that I should sign Sheffield Wednesday’s Guy Branston? We don’t need any extra defenders, you know.

KH: No Brian, it was just an extension of the “sandwich†metaphor.

BC: What, don’t you think the team is “cutting the mustard� We need some further playing personnel in your opinion, do we?

Ken was suddenly quite confused. He really thought the he had been on top of this conversation. He dropped his head and looked sheepishly at his high-quality leather shoes instead.

BC: Look Ken, I’m the first team manager and I’ll look after the playing side of things. You just look after the catering, especially as you’re so fond of sandwiches, there’s a good chap. Now run along and get me a pork pie, will you? All this talk of food has made me quite hungry.

Ken nodded and headed off towards the kitchen. As usual he felt strangely compelled to do whatever Brian told him.

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<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

English Second Division - Friday 30th November 2001

************************************************************************************************

================================================================================================

2001/2 Table

================================================================================================

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Blackpool 20 8 1 2 23 12 5 3 1 17 10 43

2nd HARTLEPOOL 20 5 2 2 23 15 7 1 3 24 12 39

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Doncaster 20 5 5 0 20 13 6 1 3 18 15 39

4th Barnsley 20 6 3 1 23 12 5 1 4 17 17 37

5th Port Vale 20 6 3 1 20 14 4 2 4 20 17 35

6th Stockport 20 8 0 2 25 14 2 4 4 14 17 34

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7th Hull 20 8 1 1 28 13 2 2 6 8 14 33

8th Bristol City 20 6 3 1 16 8 3 3 4 14 15 33

9th Tranmere 20 3 5 2 21 19 4 5 1 21 14 31

10th Luton 20 6 2 2 19 9 1 4 5 4 11 27

11th Bradford 20 4 3 3 10 9 2 5 3 11 13 26

12th Colchester 20 6 1 4 17 12 1 4 4 7 16 26

13th Bournemouth 20 3 4 3 10 13 3 4 3 14 19 26

14th Torquay 20 4 4 2 17 16 2 3 5 11 19 25

15th Sheff Wed 20 5 2 3 17 10 1 4 5 14 22 24

16th Swindon 20 5 3 2 23 15 1 3 6 18 28 24

17th Wrexham 20 2 4 3 13 13 4 2 5 17 20 24

18th MK Dons 20 4 4 2 13 10 2 2 6 10 16 24

19th Chesterfield 20 2 4 4 12 15 4 2 4 12 13 24

20th Brentford 20 2 3 5 17 19 3 1 6 16 24 19

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

21st Walsall 20 1 6 3 16 18 1 4 5 7 20 16

22nd Huddersfield 20 3 3 4 14 15 0 3 7 11 24 15

23rd Peterborough 20 3 2 5 10 16 0 4 6 13 22 15

24th Oldham 20 2 2 6 17 22 0 3 7 14 26 11

================================================================================================

2001/2 Goals

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Gls

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 17 16

13th Craig Reid Hartlepool 7 (1) 9

================================================================================================

2001/2 Assists

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Asts

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

10th Hugh Robertson Hartlepool 19 6

28th Eifion Williams Hartlepool 12 (1) 4

30th Mark Tinkler Hartlepool 18 4

================================================================================================

2001/2 Average Rating

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Av R

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 17 8.18

2nd Eifion Williams Hartlepool 12 (1) 7.92

21st Gavin Strachan Hartlepool 20 7.60

30th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 19 7.47

================================================================================================

2001/2 Man of Match

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps MoM

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

7th Joel Porter Hartlepool 17 4

22nd Eifion Williams Hartlepool 12 (1) 2

</pre>

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Thanks BoN, still hanging in there at the top as you'll see.

------------------------------------------------

December 2001:

With the mid point of the season arriving, both Brian and Ken were very happy to see the team in the play-off positions. A trip to Sheffield Wednesday produced three points as the Australians did the scoring. McMaster cancelled out Hamshaw’s early opener and Porter clinched the 2-1 victory with a second half header for his 20th goal in all competitions so far this season.

A trip to Wales for the 2nd Round of the FA Cup gave Hartlepool a match against Newport. The non-leaguers had no answer to Brian’s high-flying Division 2 side and a 4-0 win was achieved through the goals of Porter, McMaster (2) and Clarke.

Next up was another cup competition – the Vans Trophy. Brian had decided that this was a nonsense tournament and resolved to put all his reserves out on the park for the visit to Macclesfield. When Jones and Tipton put the home team 2-0 up it looked like the fringe players wouldn’t be able to cope, but a quick double to Williams bought them level. Suddenly players who been sitting on the sidelines for most of the season were now playing out of their skin. Ross powered in a header for his first ever goal and Robson followed likewise with a cracking long range effort. It was 4-2 to Pool at the break and Istead and a third goal for Williams made it 6-2 before Tipton scored in the last minute for a final 6-3 score-line.

It was then off to Merseyside for a tricky league match against Tranmere. Reid smashed in Porter’s lovely pass to get Hartlepool off on the right foot, but then they lost both their attacking midfielders as McMaster and McCann went off injured. Tranmere came storming back and a Jones header and a Whitmore tap-in had them leading 2-1 early in the second half. They maintained that lead until the 89th minute when substitute Robson followed up his mid-week cup goal with an even better effort – a 35 yard rocket that left Howarth grasping at fresh air. An entertaining game finished 2-2.

A home game with fellow promotion hopefuls Stockport was next on the agenda. A tight first half was scoreless, but then the visitors got some luck as both Beckett and Jackman scored via deflections that gave Provett no chance. Brian threw everybody forward for the last 20 minutes and was rewarded when Strachan reduced the deficit with a skidding low shot. Injury-time was just beginning as Hartlepool’s pressure finally earned them an equaliser at 2-2. The scorer was Stephenson, the club’s “old man†having a rare substitute appearance on this day.

The Boxing Day fixture saw Bristol City visit Victoria Park and the players gave Brian a lovely Christmas present – a 5-0 win. McMaster (2), Porter (2) and Williams all scored in a second half display that had the local fans drooling into their Bovril.

The final match of 2001 was a road trip to Doncaster, another team with promotion aspirations. The new deadly duo of Porter and Reid set to work and did their thing. Robson, starting in place of McCann after his fine substitute performances, set up Reid for a 16th minute header to put Pool 1-0 up. Robson then went down the left wing and drove over a low cross that Porter rifled in for 2-0 in the 33rd minute. Although McIndoe pulled one back for Doncaster with a cracking left foot volley after 74 minutes, it was Hartlepool who hung on for a 2-1 win. That result consolidated the team’s position in second place behind league leaders Blackpool.

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<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

English Second Division - Monday 31st December 2001

************************************************************************************************

================================================================================================

2001/2 Table

================================================================================================

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Blackpool 24 9 2 2 28 16 6 3 2 19 13 50

2nd Hartlepool 24 6 3 2 30 17 8 2 3 28 15 47

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Port Vale 25 8 4 2 26 19 5 2 4 22 18 45

4th Barnsley 24 7 4 1 28 15 5 2 5 20 21 42

5th Stockport 25 9 1 2 26 14 3 5 5 18 21 42

6th Doncaster 24 5 6 1 22 16 6 3 3 19 16 42

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7th Tranmere 24 4 6 2 25 22 5 6 1 24 15 39

8th Hull 24 10 1 1 33 16 2 2 8 9 17 39

9th Bristol City 24 8 3 1 21 9 3 3 6 15 22 39

10th MK Dons 24 6 4 2 20 11 4 2 6 13 17 36

11th Sheff Wed 26 7 2 4 21 13 2 4 7 19 27 33

12th Wrexham 24 4 4 3 18 16 4 3 6 17 22 31

13th Colchester 24 7 1 5 19 13 1 6 4 9 18 31

14th Torquay 24 5 4 3 23 22 3 3 6 13 21 31

15th Bradford 24 5 3 4 11 11 2 6 4 13 17 30

16th Bournemouth 24 3 5 4 11 15 4 4 4 19 25 30

17th Chesterfield 24 2 5 5 14 18 5 3 4 13 13 29

18th Luton 25 6 3 2 20 10 1 4 9 4 17 28

19th Swindon 24 5 4 3 24 18 1 5 6 23 33 27

20th Brentford 24 2 5 5 19 21 3 1 8 17 29 21

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

21st Walsall 24 2 7 3 18 19 1 5 6 11 25 21

22nd Oldham 24 3 3 6 23 26 1 3 8 18 29 18

23rd Peterborough 25 3 3 6 10 17 0 6 7 19 29 18

24th Huddersfield 24 4 3 6 16 19 0 3 8 11 26 18

================================================================================================

2001/2 Goals

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Gls

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 21 19

11th Craig Reid Hartlepool 11 (1) 11

================================================================================================

2001/2 Assists

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Asts

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

14th Hugh Robertson Hartlepool 23 6

================================================================================================

2001/2 Average Rating

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Av R

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 21 8.24

2nd Craig Reid Hartlepool 11 (1) 8.17

3rd Eifion Williams Hartlepool 12 (3) 7.87

24th Gavin Strachan Hartlepool 24 7.50

================================================================================================

2001/2 Man of Match

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps MoM

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Joel Porter Hartlepool 21 5

14th Craig Reid Hartlepool 11 (1) 3

</pre>

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  • 2 weeks later...

January 2002:

2002 began with a traditional New Years Day match as Brentford visited Victoria Park. It was a closely contested match which saw Hargreaves give the Bees the lead, but Brian Clough’s Hartlepool were made of stern stuff these days and Porter equalised before half-time. Humphreys fine run and shot after 75 minutes gave Pool a 2-1 win.

Brian then did his first piece of transfer business as he sold Paul Stephenson to Crystal Place for £14K. Quite why the bottom team in the Premier League wanted a 37 year old midfielder he didn’t know, but he wise enough to accept the money there and then.

The FA Cup draw had decreed that Swindon would visit Hartlepool just four days before the same two sides met in the league. In a good preview of the league match, Brian’s side won 3-1 in the FA Cup 3rd Round. Humphreys, Porter (pen) and Robson all scored before Opara got a consolation for Swindon late in the match.

After their good win in the FA Cup Hartlepool would have expected a similar result in the league match in mid-week. When Reid, Porter and Humphreys all scored in the first half they had matched their goal tally from the weekend’s match. Clarke had it out to 4-0 early in the second half before a double from Parkin gave Swindon some hope at 4-2. But then the confidence of the team really kicked in and Robson, Reid and Humphreys all scored in the final 20 minutes to bring up a comprehensive 7-2 final score-line.

Brian was absolutely chuffed by that result and he was glowing in the knowledge that his managerial skills were obviously on a par with the playing skills that he had been lauded for. With the team in such good form, now was the chance to take over the leadership of Division 2 as the next match was a trip to Blackpool to play the league leaders. Blackpool were on a fairly good run of form, but had told the Hartlepool team that they would win and he knew that they would do it for him. He selected the following team in his 2-3-3-2 formation:

Provett; Westwood, Jordan; Strachan, Tinkler, Robertson; McMaster, Humphries, Robson; Reid, Porter.

The first blow in the match was struck by Hartlepool in the 24th minute as McMaster sent over a cross from the right which Reid met on the volley. The shot was going well wide until Porter dived full length and headed it past Ilic in the Blackpool net. However at 32 minutes Provett was slow to advance from his goal-line and attempt to cut out a Flynn cross. Parker showed much more certainty and he got in front of Provett to head the equaliser. It stayed 1-1 until half-time. A second Parker header put Blackpool in front after 50 minutes, but Pool fought back and got themselves an equaliser in the 69th minute. Humphreys had been revelling in his recent move from the left of midfield to the centre and he rampaged through the middle to rifle home a fine left-footed shot to make it 2-2. Both sides went close to getting a winner as Provett denied Parker his hat-trick and then Ilic brilliantly saved from McMaster. Deep into injury-time Blackpool won a free-kick 25 yards out. Wellens hit it into the Hartlepool wall and a lucky deflection saw it land at the feet of substitute Hilton who prodded it home for a 3-2 win to Blackpool.

That loss dented Brian’s pride and he took out his anger on the squad at training. The players would learn not to spoil his big occasion in future.

The reserves and fringe players were sent out in the Vans Trophy 2nd Round, but there was no repeat of their earlier 6-3 win as they crashed 3-0 at Port Vale and went out of the competition. Cummins (2) and Armstrong were the opposition’s scorers.

The busy month continued as fellow seasiders Torquay popped in for a visit. Fowler shocked them with the opener, but Humphreys, Reid and Robson all scored to make the score 3-1 and truer to the league placings that each team held.

In the following match Hartlepool went to Oldham. It was hard-fought match that saw Vernon give the Latics the lead after 50 minutes. They looked capable of holding onto that lead until substitute Haining received his marching orders for a professional foul on Williams in the 77th minute. With 8 minutes Hartlepool had turned the match around by scoring three goals as Williams, Reid and Humphreys all found the net. A 3-1 win was a great result considering how tough most of the match had been.

The final game of January 2002 was the 4th Round of the FA Cup. Runaway Division 1 leaders Leicester were the visitors and they spurned the chance to take the lead early when Dublin saw his spot-kick saved by Provett. Porter and Humphreys then both nabbed headers to take Hartlepool to a 2-0 lead. Brian’s team looked good value for their lead, but just like in the previous match a sending off would chance the course of the game. This time the red card was for Hartlepool as skipper Tinkler was sent off for two cautionable offences in the 68th minute. Almost immediately Harper headed in a corner, then Jordan fouled Dublin who got up and scored from the spot this time for 2-2. As time ticked away Scowcroft headed in Gillespie’s free-kicked and Leicester had escaped with a 3-2 victory that they should never really have got.

Despite the loss in the FA Cup the month didn’t end on a gloomy note for Hartlepool. Brian Clough was named manager of the month and Ritchie Humphreys was named Division 2 player of the month. On the table Hartlepool were still in 2nd place behind Blackpool and starting to draw away from the teams below them.

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<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

English Second Division - Thursday 31st January 2002

************************************************************************************************

================================================================================================

2001/2 Table

================================================================================================

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Blackpool 29 10 3 2 33 20 8 4 2 27 17 61

2nd HARTLEPOOL 29 9 3 2 42 21 9 2 4 33 19 59

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Barnsley 29 9 4 1 34 16 6 4 5 23 22 53

4th Port Vale 29 9 4 2 29 19 6 3 5 24 20 52

5th Doncaster 29 7 7 1 26 18 7 3 4 22 19 52

6th Tranmere 29 7 6 2 33 25 5 7 2 24 18 49

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7th Hull 29 12 1 1 37 16 3 3 9 15 22 49

8th Bristol City 29 10 4 1 28 12 4 3 7 20 27 49

9th Stockport 29 10 3 2 30 17 3 5 6 19 23 47

10th Sheff Wed 29 9 2 4 28 15 3 4 7 21 28 42

11th MK Dons 29 6 5 3 22 15 5 4 6 17 20 42

12th Colchester 29 8 1 6 22 17 2 7 5 11 20 38

13th Chesterfield 29 2 8 5 17 21 6 4 4 18 15 36

14th Bradford 29 7 3 4 16 12 2 6 7 13 24 36

15th Wrexham 29 5 5 4 24 20 4 3 8 19 28 35

16th Torquay 29 6 5 4 27 25 3 3 8 15 28 35

17th Bournemouth 29 4 6 5 13 17 4 5 5 21 29 35

18th Luton 29 7 4 3 26 16 1 5 9 4 17 33

19th Swindon 29 5 4 5 26 25 2 5 8 29 43 30

20th Walsall 29 2 8 4 18 21 2 7 6 17 30 27

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

21st Brentford 29 2 6 7 22 26 3 1 10 18 32 22

22nd Peterborough 29 3 5 6 12 19 0 7 8 20 33 21

23rd Huddersfield 29 4 3 7 17 21 0 5 10 15 33 20

24th Oldham 29 3 3 8 25 32 1 3 11 21 40 18

================================================================================================

2001/2 Goals

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Gls

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 24 22

7th Craig Reid Hartlepool 16 (1) 15

================================================================================================

2001/2 Assists

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Asts

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Hugh Robertson Hartlepool 28 9

30th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 26 6

================================================================================================

2001/2 Average Rating

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Av R

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 24 8.25

2nd Craig Reid Hartlepool 16 (1) 8.06

3rd Eifion Williams Hartlepool 14 (5) 7.79

12th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 26 7.65

================================================================================================

2001/2 Man of Match

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps MoM

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Joel Porter Hartlepool 24 6

14th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 26 4

23rd Craig Reid Hartlepool 16 (1) 3

</pre>

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  • 2 weeks later...

February 2002:

Sometimes the manager of the month award is a poisoned chalice. After winning the award in January, Brian was to find out how true could be. A visit to bottom half side Chesterfield started the month and on-loan midfielder McMaster started off the scoring early on. McMaster made it two with a header and fellow loan signing Reid had Hartlepool 3-0 up early in the second half before Debolla pulled back two for the home team. The team wavered for 20 minutes before a late volley from McMaster completed his hat-trick and Robertson cracked in a fine free-kick for his first-ever Hartlepool goal. A 5-2 away win was the final result.

Matty Robson had made his breakthrough in December and was now a regular member of the first team. He had wonderful match as Colchester visited Victoria Park for the next match. Two of Robson’s crosses were converted by the loan-boys McMaster and Reid as Pool went two up before the break. McMaster returned the favour midway through the second half and Robson volleyed in a deserved goal as the final score ran to 3-0 for Brian’s team.

Hull were in the middle of fine run of form that had seen them move to 3rd on the table behind Blackpool and Hartlepool when Brian’s team visited them in mid-February. An 8th minute Facey goal put Hull 1-0 up and despite Pool’s best efforts they just couldn’t find an equaliser. Hull’s keeper Sergio Leite was unbeatable on the day and he denied them on countless occasions.

Huddersfield were in the relegation zone and just the sort of opponents that Hartlepool needed after their loss at Hull. Their visit to Victoria Park saw McMaster open the scoring early, but the spark was missing from Hartlepool’s play and they struggled to get a second goal. As expected Huddersfield soaked up the pressure and they broke away to equalise through Heary with 15 minutes to go. The 1-1 final score set Brian off on one of his rants again.

There was a bumper crowd at Barnsley for the final game of the month. The home side were currently in the play-off places and they had won 5-3 at Hartlepool earlier in the season, so revenge was the word for Pool that day. A see-sawing battle saw the deadlock broken by Barnsley’s Hyde after 30 minute, but Ross on a rare start for Hartlepool teed up Reid for the equaliser just a minute later. The game continued to ebb and flow, giving the crowd plenty to cheer about. The home fans had even more reason to cheer when Provett could only block McPhail’s shot and Boulding tapped in for a 2-1 lead to Barnsley after 64 minutes. Despite a late bombardment Barnsley held on to take all three points and complete the double over Hartlepool.

Two wins, a draw and two losses was not championship form as far as Brian was concerned. The team was still in 2nd place on the Division 2 table, but Blackpool had moved out to a seven point lead with 12 matches remaining.

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<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

English Second Division - Thursday 28th February 2002

************************************************************************************************

================================================================================================

2001/2 Table

================================================================================================

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Blackpool 34 13 3 2 40 22 9 4 3 30 18 73

2nd HARTLEPOOL 34 10 4 2 46 22 10 2 6 39 24 66

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Hull 34 14 2 1 41 18 5 3 9 19 22 62

4th Port Vale 34 12 4 2 37 22 6 3 7 26 24 61

5th Doncaster 34 9 7 1 30 19 8 3 6 24 24 61

6th Barnsley 34 11 5 1 38 18 6 4 7 26 28 60

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7th Tranmere 34 9 6 2 39 26 5 9 3 27 23 57

8th Bristol City 34 11 4 2 30 15 5 3 9 26 32 55

9th Stockport 34 12 3 2 37 18 3 6 8 21 29 54

10th MK Dons 34 7 5 5 27 21 6 5 6 20 22 49

11th Sheff Wed 34 10 3 4 30 16 3 5 9 25 34 47

12th Bradford 34 9 3 4 20 13 3 7 8 17 28 46

13th Torquay 34 8 6 4 36 30 4 3 9 19 31 45

14th Wrexham 34 6 5 5 27 25 6 3 9 23 31 44

15th Chesterfield 34 4 8 6 25 28 6 5 5 20 19 43

16th Colchester 34 8 2 8 24 21 2 8 6 12 24 40

17th Bournemouth 34 5 7 5 17 20 4 5 8 23 35 39

18th Luton 34 7 5 4 27 20 1 5 12 6 24 34

19th Walsall 34 2 8 6 20 26 4 8 6 21 32 34

20th Swindon 34 6 4 6 29 28 2 5 11 33 53 33

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

21st Peterborough 34 5 5 7 14 20 1 8 8 22 34 31

22nd Huddersfield 34 6 4 7 21 22 0 6 11 16 35 28

23rd Brentford 34 2 7 9 25 33 3 2 11 19 37 24

24th Oldham 34 4 5 8 27 33 1 3 13 22 44 23

================================================================================================

2001/2 Goals

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Gls

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 29 22

5th Craig Reid Hartlepool 21 (1) 18

================================================================================================

2001/2 Assists

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Asts

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

8th Hugh Robertson Hartlepool 33 9

20th Joel Porter Hartlepool 29 8

29th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 31 7

================================================================================================

2001/2 Average Rating

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Av R

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Craig Reid Hartlepool 21 (1) 8.09

2nd Joel Porter Hartlepool 29 8.07

8th Eifion Williams Hartlepool 14 (8) 7.64

11th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 31 7.61

================================================================================================

2001/2 Man of Match

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps MoM

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Joel Porter Hartlepool 29 6

10th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 31 5

29th Craig Reid Hartlepool 21 (1) 3

</pre>

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  • 1 month later...

March 2002:

If Hartlepool were to push for the championship, then they needed a good run of form in March. The first game of the month was at Walsall and Pool got off to a great start when Porter headed in Robertson’s cross after 15 minutes. The lead was doubled after 43 minutes when Reid ran onto Humphreys pass to score from close range. The game was put beyond doubt in the 58th minute when McMaster got free on the right and worked his way to the bye-line before driving a low centre across the six yard box. Robson arrived perfectly at the far post to crash the ball home and make the score 3-0. That remained the final score and Brian was happy to note that Walsall failed to get one shot on target.

The quality and determination of the team was clearly demonstrated in the next match at Victoria Park against Peterborough. The visitors played a rough style of play and they had three players booked before the half hour. They then took the lead against the run of play when Platt headed home after 29 minutes. However straight from the kick-off McMaster received the ball and dribbled past Burton and Kennedy before rifling in a stunning goal from 25 yards to make it 1-1. In the 39th minute Westwood reacted to a tackle by Platt by pushing the Peterborough forward and he was sent off. Defender Nelson replaced striker Reid as Brian tried to maintain the status quo. Although Peterborough pushed hard for a winner against Hartlepool’s ten men, the team held firm. Porter worked tirelessly up front and in the 80th minute he did well to run onto McMaster’s pass before working his way into the penalty area and pulling the ball back for Humphreys to drive home the winning goal in a hard-fought 2-1 victory.

The next game was away to the MK Dons and it took only 3 minutes for Strachan to set up McMaster for the opening goal. Nelson was starting today in place of Westwood, but he lasted only 10 minutes before being sent off for a professional foul as he pulled back Gordon who was clear through on goal. Westwood came on for Reid and Porter was left on his own up front for the remaining 80 minutes. Smith quickly equalised for the Dons as Hartlepool failed to defend their lead. However another amazing fightback appeared to be on the cards when Robertson curled home a 25 yard free-kick in the 57th minute to put Pool 2-1 in front. A 69th minute header by Hornuss bought the teams level again and with 6 minutes to go a second Hornuss header put the MK Dons into the lead for the first time in the game. The Dons then held out Pool and recorded a 3-2 win.

The fourth game of the month was at home to Bradford. A quiet start was finally broken by Reid whose diving header after 33 minutes was his 20th goal of the season. Humphreys then left the field with a thigh injury as Ross replaced him. When Symes went past McMaster and Jordan before scoring with a skidding low shot after 69 minutes, Bradford had pulled it back to 1-1. It looked like an unlikely draw was going to be the result until Hartlepool struck three times in the final 9 minutes. Porter deflected in Reid’s wayward shot after 81 minutes to make it 2-1. Reid’s parried shot in the 83rd minute was pounced on by Porter who tapped it in to make it 3-1. The icing on the cake was a swerving 30 yard effort by Strachan that wrapped up the 4-1 win.

The final game of the month was away at Swindon and a Reid half-volley got the team off to a good start. A long range effort by Smith made it 1-1 and that remained the score until midway through the second half. The awarding of a penalty to Hartlepool in the 69th minute broke the deadlock. Strachan was surprisingly the furthest man forward when he attempted to meet Robson’s cross, but he was pushed as he jumped and a spot-kick was the result. Porter confidently scored from the spot to make it 2-1. Only two minutes later it was 3-1 as a powerful header by Porter gave him his 35th goal of the season in all competitions. A second goal by Smith gave Swindon a sniff of a draw as he made it 3-2 in the 78th minute, but Brian’s team closed out the game to record the win.

That was Hartlepool’s fourth win in five matches during March and they had reduced Blackpool’s lead from seven points to five with six matches remaining. Perhaps more importantly the team had now raised a nine point gap over third-placed Bristol City and automatic promotion was looking more and more like a definite possibility.

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<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

English Second Division - Sunday 31st March 2002

************************************************************************************************

================================================================================================

2001/2 Table

================================================================================================

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Blackpool 40 14 4 3 42 26 11 5 3 37 23 84

2nd HARTLEPOOL 40 12 5 2 54 26 12 2 7 47 29 79

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Bristol City 40 13 4 3 34 18 8 3 9 33 35 70

4th Doncaster 40 9 10 1 31 20 10 3 7 28 26 70

5th Tranmere 40 11 6 3 46 29 7 9 4 30 25 69

6th Port Vale 40 14 5 2 42 24 6 4 9 29 31 69

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7th Barnsley 40 13 6 1 45 22 6 5 9 29 35 68

8th Stockport 40 14 4 2 41 19 5 6 9 29 34 67

9th Hull 40 14 3 3 46 27 5 4 11 24 31 64

10th MK Dons 40 9 5 6 31 24 7 7 6 23 24 60

11th Sheff Wed 40 11 5 4 35 19 4 5 11 28 38 55

12th Bradford 40 10 5 5 25 18 4 7 9 20 32 54

13th Wrexham 40 6 7 6 33 32 7 4 10 27 35 50

14th Torquay 40 9 6 5 38 33 4 5 11 22 38 50

15th Colchester 40 9 3 9 27 24 3 9 7 13 25 48

16th Bournemouth 40 6 7 7 20 23 5 7 8 29 39 47

17th Chesterfield 40 5 8 7 28 30 6 5 9 24 27 46

18th Luton 40 8 6 5 31 25 3 5 13 10 26 44

19th Peterborough 40 7 5 8 18 24 2 9 9 26 38 41

20th Walsall 40 3 8 9 23 34 5 8 7 25 38 40

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

21st Swindon 40 8 4 8 40 36 2 5 13 35 57 39

22nd Brentford 40 3 8 9 30 37 3 5 12 20 39 31

23rd Huddersfield 40 7 4 9 24 26 0 6 14 17 41 31

24th Oldham 40 5 6 9 30 35 1 6 13 26 48 30

================================================================================================

2001/2 Goals

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Gls

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 35 28

5th Craig Reid Hartlepool 27 (1) 21

================================================================================================

2001/2 Assists

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Asts

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

8th Hugh Robertson Hartlepool 39 10

18th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 36 9

30th Joel Porter Hartlepool 35 8

================================================================================================

2001/2 Average Rating

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Av R

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 35 8.09

2nd Craig Reid Hartlepool 27 (1) 7.96

9th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 36 7.61

10th Eifion Williams Hartlepool 14 (9) 7.61

================================================================================================

2001/2 Man of Match

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps MoM

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

5th Joel Porter Hartlepool 35 7

14th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 36 5

19th Craig Reid Hartlepool 27 (1) 4

</pre>

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April / May 2002:

The first target for Brian Clough was promotion and six more points would secure a move up to Division 1. Port Vale visited Hartlepool and were battered throughout the first 45 minutes, but they managed to keep Brian’s team at bay. Indeed they took the lead after 42 minutes on a breakaway goal by Hayes. It was hard work for Pool but top scorer Porter finished a flowing move involving Tinkler, Reid and McMaster after 61 minutes to tie the scores at 1-1. With the minutes ticking away Tinkler sent McMaster on his way and the Australian’s hopeful shot flew in from 20 yards after 84 minutes. The final result was 2-1 to Hartlepool and promotion was now only three points away.

Wrexham were safely in mid-table when they visited Victoria Park on 13th April 2002. Nerves may have played a part in Hartlepool’s poor opening to the match as they failed to perform as they had been doing recently. It took a header from Jones after 31 minutes which put Wrexham 1-0 in front before Brian’s team could snap out of their poor form. Right on the stroke of half-time McMaster produced a deft lob from the edge of the area to bring the teams level at 1-1. After the break Hartlepool came out like the promotion-chasing side that they were. Porter and Reid combined superbly for Porter to fire Pool 2-1 in front after 52 minutes. And that was soon 3-1 when Humphreys fed Porter for a cool finish through the keeper’s legs. Promotion was looking assured and only a nasty ankle injury to Reid could put a dampener on the final few minutes of the match.

Hartlepool’s 3-1 win over Wrexham confirmed promotion for the North-Eastern club. Indeed, combined with Blackpool’s second consecutive loss it meant that Hartlepool were now top of Division 2 and could seriously consider the big prize of the championship to top off the season.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st HARTLEPOOL 42 14 5 2 59 28 12 2 7 47 29 85

2nd Blackpool 42 14 4 3 42 26 11 5 5 39 28 84

</pre>

With Reid out injured for the rest of the season it was Williams who came into the team to partner Porter up front. When Hartlepool visited Luton it was a tight game which was broken by Williams who headed home from Robson’s cross after 59 minutes for a 1-0 victory in a scrappy contest.

As the push for the championship continued, the fans were treated to a cracking game at home to Sheffield Wednesday. Humphreys strode through the visitors defence after just 4 minutes to put the home side 1-0 up. That was doubled to 2-0 in the 20th minute when McMaster easily converted McCann’s low cross. A McLean header reduced the deficit in the 34th minute before a Williams shot was deflected home for 3-1 in the 38th minute. Peacóck headed Wednesday’s second after 41 minutes for a 3-2 score-line, but Porter had the final word of the first half as he headed home McMaster’s cross for 4-2 right on the whistle. The second half was just as exciting, but the goals were far less. McLean’s diving header made it 4-3 after 61 minutes. With 87 minutes gone on the clock Wednesday were awarded a penalty for Jordan’s foul on Mustoe. Heckingbottom stepped up for his 6th penalty of the season, having converted all 5 previous attempts. However it was Provett who gained some glory for himself as he dived well to his right to smother Heckingbottom’s kick and preserve a 4-3 win to Hartlepool.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st HARTLEPOOL 44 15 5 2 63 31 13 2 7 48 29 91

2nd Blackpool 44 15 4 3 43 26 11 6 5 41 30 88

</pre>

The final away match of the season was at Stockport and the much-improved Robson gave Hartlepool a 9th minute lead when he headed in Jordan’s free-kick. Porter then had a goal ruled out for offside and what looked like a perfectly legitimate penalty claim by Williams was also ignored by the referee. But Pool still controlled the match and made it 2-0 in the 43rd minute when McMaster slid in to bundle Robertson’s cross over the line. In the 55th minute Stockport got back into the game when Provett’s brilliant save from Forte could only block the ball back into the path of Griffin who tapped it home. After 66 minutes Stockport were level at 2-2 after Morrison towered above Jordan to head home. The home side were in top form now and Poll desperately battled to hold onto their point. It wasn’t to be though, as Forte finished off a flowing move in the 78th minute to give Stockport a 3-2 victory.

A Blackpool win meant that both teams were tied on 91 points, but Hartlepool lead by virtue of their superior goal-difference. To be sure of clinching the championship Brian’s team really needed to win their final match of the season.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st HARTLEPOOL 45 15 5 2 63 31 13 2 8 50 32 91

2nd Blackpool 45 16 4 3 44 26 11 6 5 41 30 91

</pre>

It was a tough final home match of the season for Hartlepool. Their opponents were third-placed Tranmere, a team who had already clinched a play-off berth. Brian selected the following team in his now well-known 2-3-3-2 formation:

Provett; Westwood, Jordan; Strachan, Tinkler, Robertson; McMaster, Humphries, Robson; Porter, Williams.

Only 2 minutes had gone when McAteer supplied Taylor with a simple finish and Tranmere lead 1-0. The equaliser was quick in coming though as Tinkler and Humphreys carved through the visitor’s defence to set up McMaster for thumping finish from 12 yards out. After 22 minutes the influential Humphreys scored himself when he volleyed home Robson’s centre. The Hartlepool faithful didn’t have long to celebrate their team’s lead as Rankine headed Tranmere level at 2-2 after 30 minutes. It then took a fabulous double save by Provett to ensure that the teams went into half-time locked at 2-2.

Meanwhile at 9th placed Hull the score was tied at 1-1 with the visitors Blackpool. As it stood now Hartlepool would be the champions.

The second half was a tighter affair as Hartlepool played with a slightly more defensive outlook. After 58 minutes Robson arrived at the far post to bundle the ball home from Porter’s cross, but his joy turned to despair when the goal was ruled out for handball.

In the 64th minute a sudden roar from the Hartlepool supporters indicated that news had come through that Blackpool were now 2-1 down at Hull.

Tranmere had obviously not read the script though and they took a 3-2 lead after 73 minutes when Rankine knocked home a loose ball after Haworth’s header had been cleared off the line. It was a desperate last 20 minutes for Hartlepool. As long as Blackpool didn’t equalise at Hull, then Hartlepool would be the champions. Both McMaster and Humphreys came close to scoring, but in the end the final home match ended in a 3-2 defeat. The loss mattered little when it was confirmed that Blackpool had lost 2-1 at Hull.

Hartlepool were the Division 2 champions in Brian Clough’s first season as a manager.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st HARTLEPOOL 46 15 5 3 65 34 13 2 8 50 32 91

2nd Blackpool 46 16 4 3 44 26 11 6 6 42 32 91

</pre>

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Season 2001/02 Division 2 Final Table:

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

English Second Division - Friday 31st May 2002

************************************************************************************************

================================================================================================

2001/2 Table

================================================================================================

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st C HARTLEPOOL 46 15 5 3 65 34 13 2 8 50 32 91

2nd P Blackpool 46 16 4 3 44 26 11 6 6 42 32 91

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Tranmere 46 14 6 3 51 29 9 10 4 37 28 85

4th P Bristol City 46 14 5 4 37 20 10 3 10 38 38 80

5th Stockport 46 17 4 2 51 24 6 6 11 37 42 79

6th Barnsley 46 15 7 1 54 25 7 5 11 33 40 78

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7th Doncaster 46 10 10 3 33 23 10 6 7 30 28 76

8th Port Vale 46 16 5 2 48 25 6 4 13 32 42 75

9th Hull 46 15 5 3 49 29 6 5 12 27 34 73

10th MK Dons 46 10 6 7 35 28 7 9 7 25 27 66

11th Bradford 46 12 6 5 29 19 5 7 11 23 38 64

12th Torquay 46 11 7 5 42 35 6 5 12 27 44 63

13th Sheff Wed 46 13 5 5 42 24 4 6 13 31 43 62

14th Wrexham 46 9 8 6 42 35 7 4 12 28 40 60

15th Chesterfield 46 8 8 7 35 33 7 6 10 27 31 59

16th Bournemouth 46 7 7 9 24 27 6 8 9 35 45 54

17th Luton 46 9 7 7 34 29 3 6 14 10 28 49

18th Colchester 46 9 3 11 28 28 3 10 10 13 30 49

19th Swindon 46 10 5 8 45 38 3 5 15 40 66 49

20th Peterborough 46 8 5 10 22 31 2 9 12 29 44 44

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

21st R Brentford 46 5 9 9 37 41 4 6 13 25 45 42

22nd R Oldham 46 7 7 9 34 37 2 7 14 32 52 41

23rd R Walsall 46 3 9 11 28 44 5 8 10 26 44 41

24th R Huddersfield 46 7 6 10 28 31 1 6 16 18 44 36

================================================================================================

2001/2 Goals

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Gls

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 41 32

9th Craig Reid Hartlepool 29 (1) 21

21st Jamie McMaster Hartlepool 25 16

================================================================================================

2001/2 Assists

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Asts

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

12th Hugh Robertson Hartlepool 43 11

20th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 41 10

22nd Joel Porter Hartlepool 41 10

================================================================================================

2001/2 Average Rating

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps Av R

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Joel Porter Hartlepool 41 8.05

2nd Jamie McMaster Hartlepool 25 8.04

3rd Craig Reid Hartlepool 29 (1) 7.93

7th Eifion Williams Hartlepool 18 (10) 7.61

8th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 41 7.59

================================================================================================

2001/2 Man of Match

================================================================================================

Pos Player Club Apps MoM

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

4th Joel Porter Hartlepool 41 8

13th Ritchie Humphreys Hartlepool 41 6

28th Craig Reid Hartlepool 29 (1) 4

</pre>

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Hartlepool United Player Statistics For 2001/02 Season:

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

Hartlepool United - Friday 31st May 2002

************************************************************************************************

================================================================================================

2001/2 Senior Club Stats

================================================================================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

14 Barron, Michael 13 (5) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.56

19 Bass, Jonathan 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 7.00

16 Boyd, Adam 6 (7) 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 6.85

20 Brackstone, John - - - - - - - - ----

- Brown, Ryan - - - - - - - - ----

11 Clarke, Darrell 23 (5) 5 0 0 3 0 0 0 6.86

13 Duncan, Kevin 2 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 6.00

8 Humphreys, Ritchie 47 14 0 0 12 2 0 6 7.55

17 Jordan, Andy 49 (2) 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 7.16

- May, Andy - - - - - - - - ----

21 McCann, Ryan 12 (7) 2 0 0 3 0 0 0 6.95

25 McMaster, Jamie (loan) 27 18 0 0 7 0 0 4 8.07

5 Nelson, Michael 13 (4) 0 0 0 2 1 1 1 6.94

9 Porter, Joel 47 39 0 4 (4) 11 0 0 10 8.13

1 Provett, Jim 53 0 73 0 0 1 0 0 7.11

27 Reid, Craig (loan) 32 (1) 21 0 0 6 0 1 4 7.85

12 Robertson, Hugh 49 2 0 0 12 1 0 0 7.27

24 Robson, Matty 30 (3) 8 0 0 9 1 0 2 7.48

2 Ross, Jack 13 (3) 1 0 0 4 0 0 0 7.06

18 Strachan, Gavin 52 3 0 0 6 2 0 0 7.23

23 Sweeney, Anthony 6 (3) 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 7.00

7 Tinkler, Mark 42 0 0 0 6 7 1 1 7.29

3 Van Dommele, Adam 1 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5.50

6 Westwood, Chris 39 (2) 0 0 0 1 4 1 0 6.93

10 Williams, Eifion 24 (12) 14 0 2 (2) 4 0 0 4 7.56

26 Woods, Martin (loan) 18 7 0 0 6 2 0 3 7.67

</pre>

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