Pools enjoyed an encouraging victory in their first friendly outing of pre-season as they fired seven unanswered goals past Billingham Town at The Evolution Arena on Monday night.
Ronnie Moore’s men wasted no time getting on the front foot and could have snatched the lead inside the first couple of minutes when neat interplay freed Scott Fenwick but he was forced wide and his shot was held by the keeper.
Fergus Bell drilled an effort just wide of the near post after finding space on the left of the area before a beautiful Carl Magnay cross from the right was wastefully headed off-target by Fenwick.
Bell chipped a ball across to fellow trialist Johnny Giles but he volleyed just wide as Pools continued to do the majority of the pressing and the hosts were forced in to some desperate defending.
The breakthrough came on 17 minutes when Giles’ right-wing corner was met powerfully by Harry Worley to give the Town keeper no chance and put Pools 1-0 up.
Billy Paynter tried a shot from distance which was saved comfortably by the keeper before Fenwick saw a low drive brilliantly tipped on to the bar and to safety by the home side’s busy gloveman.
Paynter was causing problems and as he tried to turn in the area he was hauled down – the big striker picked himself up to score from the spot, rolling it low in to the bottom right-hand corner of the net for 2-0 on 33 minutes.
The big striker could have doubled his account soon after when another excellent Magnay delivery picked him out at the far post but his shot hit the post and Giles’ follow-up was saved.
Pools came even closer to a third goal when Fenwick scuffed a shot across goal which was only cleared as far as Bell but his first effort was saved and his second was volleyed wide.
It was a whole new line-up for Pools at the start of the second half and Rhys Oates almost scored with his first touch but saw a lovely, lobbed effort brilliantly tipped over the bar by the keeper.
While Pools dominated in terms of possession, they had to wait until the 63rd minute to increase their lead; Oates low drive was parried only as far as Rakish Bingham who finished from close range.
The lead got wider six minutes later when some great football in midfield from Nicky Featherstone freed Lewis Hawkins who cut inside and saw a low shot blocked. However, it fell back to Featherstone and he showed great composure to pick out Carroll who couldn’t miss from ten yards.
With nine minutes remaining it was 5-0 when another great move saw Brad Walker freed on goal where he skilfully skipped around the keeper and converted from a tight angle.
Walker was running the show now and looking comfortable in the middle of the park – a tired looking home side struggled to clear another Pools attack and Walker was there to steer home a sixth goal.
It wasn’t long before six became seven; this time Walker turned provider, laying the ball on a plate for Bingham who strode in to the box and slotted coolly under the keeper for 7-0.
Full Time: Billingham Town 0 Pools 7
Pools First Half: Carson, Duckworth, Worley, Parnaby, Magnay, Bell, Nelson-Addy, Dawson, Giles, Fenwick, Paynter.
Pools Second Half: Denton, Richards, Bates, Nearney, Oyenuga, Featherstone, Carroll, Hawkins, Walker, Bingham, Oates.