Pools began their pre-season campaign with an emphatic 9-0 victory over Billingham Town at Bedford Terrace on Wednesday evening.
The Northern League outfit rarely looked like troubling Colin Cooper’s side though it did take them twenty minutes to open the scoring when Jack Compton’s looping right-wing cross sailed right in to the net at the far post.
That set the tone and Brad Walker and Eugen Bopp had both gone close to increasing the lead before Marlon Harewood rammed in from close range after the Town keeper had failed to decisively deal with Jonathan Franks’ teasing cross from the left.
Brilliant play by Harewood down the left created the next goal when the front man powered in to space before pulling the ball back for Walker who side-footed a crisp finish in to the bottom corner from twenty yards.
Compton saw another shot saved and, after wave of substitutions, Bopp was unlucky not to score when he hooked an effort just wide of the near post after determined work from Darren Holden.
More substitutions were made at the break and one paid instant dividends when young Kieran Green showed great determination at the back post to meet Franks’ cross with a firm header for 4-0.
Franks then got in on the act himself when he ran on to the ball twenty-five yards out after a neat exchange of passes and lashed an unstoppable left-foot drive past the keeper.
And within seconds Franks was celebrating again when he ghosted in to space on the edge of the area and stretched to divert a left-wing cross in to the far corner of the net to make it 6-0.
Young talent Connor Smith – who debuted for the First Team in the final home game of last season – then took centre-stage, running on to the end of good interplay from Franks and Luke James to tap in Pools’ seventh goal of the evening.
The teenage then took matters in to his own hands when he skipped inside from the left before burying a neat finish past the keeper at his near post to move the score on to 8-0.
Franks came close to scoring his hat-trick when he curled a lovely effort on to the bar, but it was Smith who secured the match ball when the youngster was involved in a lovely give and go on the edge of the box before slipping it under the keeper to round-off the scoring,
Full Time: Billingham Town 0 Pools 9
Flinders (Rafferty 46), Duckworth (Richards 35), Bates (Bradnock-Brennan 35), Austin (Nearney 46), Holden (Jones 46), Parnaby (Rowbotham 35), Walker (Hawkins 46), Bopp (Smith 65), Compton (James 35), Harewood (Green 46), Franks.Pools: