Pools ground out a 1-0 win on their second pre-season outing as Jonathan Franks’ late goal was enough to secure victory over Bradford Park Avenue at Horsfall Stadium.Colin Cooper had once again named a strong starting line-up which included trialists Eugen Bopp and Biko Bradnock-Brennan, while Tommy Miller and Michael Woods were named on the bench.
It was a cagey beginning to the game with neither side really spending too much productive time on the ball, Joe Colbeck letting fly with the first shot but his tame effort was held by Scott Flinders.
Marlon Harewood almost left the home keeper red-faced when he charged down the home stopper’s clearance but thankfully for the hosts the ball fell kindly for them and the danger passed.
And the Pools striker came closest to troubling the scorers moments later when he dropped off to the far post to meet Michael Duckworth’s deep cross but his header looped over the bar.
Colbeck was looking the main threat for Park Avenue and when the home team countered effectively down the right he drilled a shot just wide across goal.
Brad Walker was coasting in the middle of the park, looking to link up play, and he had the final opening of the half but didn’t get hold of his left-foot shot from the edge of the area and it dribbled wide.
Pools had the better of proceedings after the break as the hosts changed all eleven players, and Eugen Bopp got in to enough space twenty yards out to try a shot but his low effort through a crowded area was held by the keeper.
Cooper’s men looked like they were warming to their task when, after making six substitutions, they put together their best passing move of the game only for Jonathan Franks to see his shot deflected wide at the end of it.
Franks was looking a threat though and he spun skilfully in to space twenty yards out moments later but this time his drilled right-foot shot went wide of the post.
Luke James managed to bundle his way in to a little bit of space twenty-five yards from goal but he couldn’t regain his balance sufficiently to connect cleanly with a shot and it flew well over the top.
The deadlock was finally broken with twelve minutes remaining when Darren Holden ran on to a searching ball down the left and when he cut a low cross back in to the box, Franks arrived right on cue to divert the ball neatly past the keeper in to the bottom right corner of the net.
Franks could even have doubled the lead late on but after wriggling in to space on the edge of the box his drilled shot skimmed the side-netting as it flashed wide of the left-hand post.
Full Time: Bradford Park Avenue 0 Pools 1
Pools: Flinders (Rafferty 46), Duckworth (Richards 60), Bradnock-Brennan, Bates (Rowbotham 60), Austin (Jones 84), Parnaby (Franks 46), Walker (Miller 60), Bopp (Woods 60), Harewood, James (Smith 84), Compton (Holden 60).