December was a strange month in many ways for Pools as they were live on TV twice but saw their Christmas schedule destroyed by bad weather.
All talk at the beginning of December was about the FA Cup with Pools about to go live on television for the second time in three weeks when they made the Second Round trip to Salford City.
The game had been brought forward to the Friday evening to allow live transmission on BBC and all eyes were on Moor Lane as the nation hoped for another shock, courtesy of the Class of 92.
Rhys Oates was turning 21 on the day of the tie and he celebrated in style in the opening minutes, running clear of the home defence to win a penalty which he coolly converted to put Pools in front.
However, midway through the first half the non-league outfit were on level terms when Pools failed to deal with a free-kick in to the box and Steve O’Halloran swept it home to send the ground in to raptures.
Try as they might, City couldn’t find a way through after that and the game ended 1-1 leaving Ronnie Moore furious with the Pools display – and Chairman Gary Coxall responded by announcing that all fans who travelled to the game would get a free ticket for the replay.
A return to league action arrived with a daunting trip to promotion-chasing Portsmouth and the South Coast side proved too strong for Pools and enjoyed a 4-0 victory at Fratton Park.
After that, it was all eyes back on the FA Cup and the replay with Salford City has also been chosen for live broadcast by BT Sport, which meant a return to The Vic for former Pools boss Danny Wilson who was chosen as a pundit.
Again Pools rode their luck but, as the game wore on, City’s part-time players began to feel it in their legs and when the game went in to extra time the extra fitness for Moore’s men finally started to tell – and goals from Scott Fenwick and Mikael Mandron secured a passage to Round Three.
The boss admitted Pools needed to be better, and they were against Plymouth Argyle at The Vic in their next game but unfortunately still found themselves on the wrong end of the scorelines, as The Pilgrims returned to Devon with three points after a 2-1 win.
With Carlisle United’s Brunton Park left devastated by the Cumbrian floods, Pools game there on Monday 28th December had to be postponed. Discussions had been ongoing between two clubs with various options mooted; in the end it was re-arranged for a date in February.
That left a void in Pools’ Christmas schedule which got even worse when a Christmas Day downpour left Victoria Park flooded and the Boxing Day clash with Notts County was also postponed, meaning for an odd festive period for fans.
There was action to look forward too though with a New Year’s Day date at Newport County on the horizon and an exciting FA Cup Third Round tie against Championship high-fliers Derby County.
Portsmouth 4 Pools 0 – WATCH
WATCHPools 1 Plymouth Argyle 2 -