Pools Reserves won for the second game in a row as trialist Justin Laird scored the only goal in their Final Third Development League encounter with Gateshead at Billingham Town.
It was a scrappy start to the game with visiting front man Lindokuhle Ndlovu providing the first moment of note but his looping header was easily collected by Jon Maxted.
Jordan Richards’ right-wing corner wasn’t properly cleared by the Gateshead defence at the other end but Kieran Green could offer only a tame attempt and it was easily dealt with at the back post.
Richards clipped a lovely ball down the right for Ebby Nelson-Addy to chase but, as he progressed in to the penalty area, his shot from a tight angle was well turned behind by keeper Alex Baird.
Perhaps the best of the chances fell to American trialist Justin Laird who found himself through on the right side of the box only for keeper Baird to get out quickly and block his shot.
Michael Rankine’s shot on the turn was blocked by Stuart Parnaby, before Ryan Wilson’s tame free-kick was easily held by Maxted down to his left.
Gateshead almost snatched the lead in spectacular fashion just after the restart when Rankine picked up the ball twenty-five yards out and let fly with a ferocious drive which crashed off the bar on its way over.
At the other end, Nelson-Addy did well to find space and drove to the edge of the box before feeding in Laird but his shot was deflected wide by the keeper.
Hawkins was next to try his luck but saw his effort deflected wide by a defender, while Josh Nearney’s turn and shot from the edge of the area was too high.
There was a great chance for Gateshead’s Kevin Sainte-Luce to open the scoring on seventy minutes but he dragged wide from inside the area, before Maxted pulled off a fine save to palm away Jake Orrell’s curling shot.
Pools responded with their best effort of the afternoon as they broke forward with pace and the ball came to Connor Smith who sprinted to the edge of the box and forced a good save from Baird with a well-hit, low drive.
The first goal finally arrived fifteen minutes from time when Nelson-Addy turned skilfully on Blackford’s low pass and drove towards the edge of the box and fed Smith; his powerful shot was well saved by the keeper but Laird was there to tap in the rebound from six yards.
Ndlovu came mightily close to rescuing a point for Gateshead late on but Nearney threw himself in the way of the striker’s powerful shot and got just enough on it to send it over via the top of the bar.
Full Time: Pools 1 Gateshead 0
Pools: Maxted, Richards, Holden, Green (Blackford 46), Parnaby (Sukar 46 (Howes 63)), Nearney, Hawkins, Miller, Laird, Nelson-Addy, Smith.
Subs not used: Dawson, Jewson.
Gateshead: Baird, Morse, R Wilson, Briggs, Shaw, Fondato, Sainte-Luce, Orrell, Ndlovu, Rankine, Bell (Dodds 17).
Subs not used: Ackroyd, J Wilson, Kellor, Cummins.