It was a day to forget for Pools at The Vic as they let a one-goal lead slip to lose 3-1 to York City.
Paul Murray’s side had looked in control of proceedings for much of the game but two quick-fire goals for the visitors proved too much and when York added a third it was game over for Pools.
The game kicked off in a great atmosphere, with the packed away stand helping to build up for what was to be an entertaining first half.
While it was the visitors who took the early edge in the game, testing Flinders with an early effort, it was Pools who went on to dominate.
After just five minutes of the game, Lewis Montrose smashed a volley at goal which was blocked bravely by Neil Austin who took the full force as he deflected it wide of target.
Michael Duckworth’s emergence into the game saw Pools up the tempo and begin to threaten Alex Cisak’s goal.
Austin lifted a good ball over the top for the lively Scott Fenwick who was making his first start in professional football this afternoon. His touch took it just beyond him but the striker was proving a real handful for the visiting defence.
Duckworth linked up well with Marlon Harewood down the right before the full back forced his way into the box where he was blocked off as he ran in. Pools appealed for the decision but were ignored by the official.
Brad Walker tried his luck with another of his drives from 20-yard but Cisak dealt with it but Pools were getting closer and were relentless going forward.
Jonathan Franks, another in determined mood this afternoon, sent a decent ball into the box for Harewood. He nodded down for Sam Collins in an unlikely position but the ball was just ahead of the defender and Cisak cleared.
But Pools were in no mood to slow down and when the opener came, it was a real tea effort. Franks again picked out Harewood who this time threaded a perfectly-weighted pass square for Fenwick who took great delight in putting it past Cisak to make it 1-0 on 27 minutes.
Fenwick had a decent chance to double the score minutes later when a Richards corner picked him out in a crowded box, but his header went just over the bar.
While the game quietened down after the goal, Pools remained on top, with former York City apprentice Michael Duckworth pulling most of the strings.
The right back linked up slickly with Richards down the wing and, after a few back-heels between the pair, Richards fed it through to Harewood inside the box. He sent it out at the far post from a wide position but Pools were keeping the visitors on their toes.
Jordan Richards had a late chance to double the lead with a well-positioned freekick but his effort hit the wall and Pools took the one-goal lead into the break.
York City started the second half full of running and after forcing an early corner, Scott Flinders pulled off a great save to palm the ball out and deny the visitors an early equaliser.
Pools found their stride much quicker in this second half though and were soon back on the attack, with Scott Fenwick causing problems in the box with his dogged approach.
At the other end Scott Flinders was in action again, this time saving at full-stretch from Michael Coulson and the following corner lead to the equaliser for Russ Wilcox’s side.
The corner came in from the right and found Keith Lowe who was able to head past Flinders and into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
And while Pools had tried and failed to build on their goal, York City did just that – taking the lead just two minutes after the equaliser.
This time it was a ball in from the opposite side but the outcome was the same as Lowe was allowed far too much space as he got up to head home and put his side in the lead.
It was a real test now for Paul Murray’s side who needed to keep their heads up and fighting if they were to get anything back from a game they had dominated.
But the next goal did not go Pools’ way; York City were allowed to break forward and when Jake Hyde burst through on goal he made no mistake as he finished past Flinders to make it 3-1 to the visitors and leave Murray’s side with a big task ahead.
And if Pools had faced a test of character at 2-1, the next 30 minutes would be crucial for the home team.
Paul Murray introduced his two new strikers soon after the third York goal, with both Joe Ironside and Adam Campbell joining the action. And the latter went close within seconds of coming on, but his snapshot went wide of the far post.
Half-way into the remaining thirty minutes and Pools had failed to really threaten anything else to suggest a comeback. Murray’s side were seeing plenty of the ball but were unable to get within sight of Cisak’s goal.
And as the minutes ticked down, the chance of any response looked less likely as Pools failed to work Cisak in the visiting goal and it was too comfortable a finish to the game for York City.
Pools now must bounce back quickly from this as they have a home game with Wycombe Wanderers at The Vic next Saturday and points are desperately needed.
Full Time: Pools 1 York City 3
Attendance: 4234 (799 York City)
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth (Jones 78), Collins, Harrison, Austin, Richards (Campbell 67), Featherstone, Walker, Franks, Fenwick, Harewood (Ironside 63)
Subs Not Used: Maxted, Bates, Woods, Schmeltz.
York City: Cisak, Ilesanmi, Coulson, Fletcher (Meikle 90), Penn, Montrose (Summerfield 46), Lowe, Carson, Zubar, Hyde
Subs Not Used: Ingham, McCombe, Halliday, Platt, Jarvis