Pools make fitness count against Whitley Bay

Whitley Bay's Josh Day in action against Hartlepool United.
Whitley Bay's Josh Day in action against Hartlepool United.

A strong Hartlepool United side made their superior fitness count by scoring four times in the last ten minutes of their pre-season friendly at Whitley Bay on Saturday.

The League Two club sent a side which included several first team fringe players as well as some impressive looking youngsters.

And for an hour, Whitley were well in the contest.

With 21 minutes played, Jordan Jewson saw his goalbound shot deflected behind for a corner, but a minute later Pools were in front, albeit in controversial circumstances.

Liam Travers looked to be fully two yards offside when he received the ball but the assistant’s flag stayed down and Travers closed in on goal before slotting the ball past Andy Jennison.

Whitley responded positively and with 33 minutes played, Dubai-bound Peter Watling levelled with a spectacular strike from well over 25 yards, taking his chance after spotting keeper James Dawson off his line.

Four minutes later Hartlepool were back in front after Michael Laws struggled to time his tackle as the visitors broke through on goal and he was penalised by Premier League referee Michael Oliver, who had no hesitation in awarding a penalty, which Ebby Nelson-Addy converted, sending Jennison the wrong way.

Whitley enjoyed their best period of the game in the opening stages of the second half.

Six minutes after the restart, a well placed cross from Kris Goss reached Watling but he volleyed over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Just before the hour mark, a corner from substitute Sam Norris saw Goss nearly level the score, but when the ball was immediately cleared upfield, Scott Howes tried a speculative long range shot that deceived Jennison and flew into the net to put Hartlepool 3-1 ahead.

This proved to be the turning point and as Whitley made regular substitutions they were pushed back into their own half.

Jewson got the fourth with a 20-yard effort before Nelson-Addy scored twice in as many minutes to complete his hat-trick.

Then with the last kick of the game, Travers ran through unchallenged to notch his second.

Sandwiched between these goals Norris twice provided threatening crosses from the right that got behind the Hartlepool defence but with no one on hand to apply the finishing touch.

Whitley Bay: Jennison, Day, McDonald, Anderson, Laws, Reid, Gibson, Bertram, Watling, Goss, Kempster. Subs: Flynn, Gladstone (not used), Young, Norris, Jack, Buzzeo.