New captain Billy Paynter scored one and made one as Pools got the 2015/16 season off to a strong with a 2-0 victory over Morecambe at The Vic this afternoon.
While Ronnie Moore's men were fortunate on occasions this afternoon, it was an encouraging start for new-look Pools and a big three points to start the season.
Billy Paynter lead a solid line for Pools, forcing himself to the heart of everything and linking up well with the midfield three.
The skipper played a couple of slick one-twos with the hard-working Michael Woods on the edge of the box, setting the midfielder up to shoot on goal but his strike went wide of Barry Roche’s goal.
Morecambe were forced to make a change on ten minutes when Peter Murphy limped off and sub Alex Kenyon went closest to making an instant impact. Kenyon rose highest to meet a cross from the left and saw his header beat Adam Bartlett only to crash against the bar and back into play where Carl Magnay cleared.
Lee Molyneux, who was the biggest threat for Morecambe throughout the afternoon, had a decent effort with a freekick from outside the box. He beat the wall with his strike but his effort dipped just over the bar.
While it was the visitors who went closest to goal first, Pools were looking lively in possession with plenty of positive play and there was plenty to encourage the home fans early on.
And Ronnie Moore’s side took the lead on 25 minutes through new skipper Billy Paynter; Michael Woods saw his initial strike well saved by Roche but Rakish Bingham picked up the loose ball to feed Paynter who sent it in off the post for his first Pools – and 100th league – goal.
Paynter turned provider shortly after his goal to set up Scott Fenwick who turned to shoot from just inside the box but the shot was deflected wide of target.
At the other end, Nicky Featherstone – who was busy at both ends this afternoon – got in a crucial block to deny Molyneux from running in on goal.
Molyneux tested Pools again with another freekick, this time his powerful drive was parried well by Bartlett and Magnay was on hand to clear the rebound.
As half time approached Morecambe found themselves on top and Pools started to look a little nervy at the back.
On 41 minutes Jamie Devitt beat the offside trap to break through on goal but, with just the back of the net to find, he sent his effort wide of the far post.
Moore’s side took their lead into the break but the Pools boss will have been ready with plenty of instructions for his side for the second half.
Morecambe looked a bigger threat in the second half than they had for much of the first and Pools were fortunate on a few early occasions to maintain the lead.
Paul Mullin, who was lively for the visitors, linked up well with Jamie Devitt down the right before picking out Molyneux with a great cross. But with the striker looking set to level the scores, he sent his shot wide of Bartlett’s goal.
Jake Carroll put in a great block to deny the visitors another shot on goal, while Adam Bartlett was solid in goal on his Pools debut and made things difficult for Morecambe.
And while Morecambe remained a threat going forward, Pools had a threat of their own and it was a perfectly weighted chip over the top from Paynter that set up the second goal.
The pass fell into the path of Rakish Bingham who showed a cool head to take it into his stride and send the ball past Roche to make it 2-0.
Morecambe pushed Pools to the end but Pools - and Adam Bartlett in particular, did everything to protect that clean sheet. The Pools keeper pulled off a great save in added time from Jamie Devitt to keep things at 2-0.
It was a strong start to the season for Moore's men, with plenty of encouragement for the season ahead and, most importantly, the first three points on the board.
Final Score: Pools 2 Morecambe 0
Booked: Harrison (29), Fenwick (48), Magnay (83), Duckworth (89)
Attendance: 4289 (247 Morecambe)
Pools: Bartlett, Duckworth, Harrison, Worley, Carroll, Magnay, Featherstone, Woods, Fenwick (Smith 81), Paynter, Bingham (Oates 87).
Subs Not Used: Denton, Bates, Oyenuga, Nelson-Addy, Hawkins.
Morecambe: Roche. Beeley, Edwards, Devitt, Murphy (Kenyon 10), Molyneux (Miller 71), Ellison, Mullin (Ryan 85), Wildig, Wilson, Parrish.
Subs Not Used: Thompson, McGowan, Goodall, Fleming.