Billy Paynter played for an hour on his comeback from injury and got on the scoresheet as Pools Reserves enjoyed a comfortable win over Rotherham United on Wednesday.
The Club Captain was returning from an Achilles problem and was joined in the starting eleven by Matthew Bates who also got sixty minute under his belt after recovering from a broken toe.
After a quiet opening, Pools forged in front on the quarter-hour mark when Connor Smith’s clever lofted through ball freed Rakish Bingham and he finished neatly past keeper Laurence Bilboe.
It was only a couple of minutes later that the lead was increased and this time it was Billy Paynter who announced his arrival back on the scene with a tap-in after Brad Walker’s incisive pass had set Josh Nearney away to square for the skipper.
Paynter could even have helped himself to a second goal moments later when he profited from another good ball from Bingham but this time he flashed a low effort wide of the far post.
Pools were given a scare at the other end when a near post corner from the right was headed powerfully towards goal by Kuda Muskwe but thankfully it flew just wide of the target.
Trialist McDonagh could have made it 3-0 when the ball fell in to his path following a determined run from Bingham but he blazed it over, while he also had a goal ruled out for offside after converting Smith’s ball through to him.
Pools piled on the pressure at the start of the second half and The Millers were forced on to the back foot as the hosts probed for another opening.
And they only had to wait three minutes after the restart when Rotherham failed to fully clear a ball in to the box and Smith sent a perfect half-volleyed lob over the stranded keeper and in to the net for 3-0.
Walker was next try his luck when Smith wriggled along the edge of the box to play the ball into the midfielder’s feet; he took a touch to settle himself then drilled a low shot which came off the base of the post and Paynter was denied by the keeper from the
Midway through the second half, Smith tucked away his second of the game to make it 4-0 – chasing on to a wonderful ball over the top from McDonagh, he cut inside and rifled home.
Smith could have had his hat-trick with fifteen minutes left when Nearney drove with determination in to the box and squared it but keeper Bilboe did well to block the shot.
The shot-stopper had to be alert again seconds later when the resultant corner was cleared only far as Walker and his pile-driver was expertly clawed away from the top corner by Bilboe.
Young substitute Liam Travers almost added a fourth goal with an acrobatic effort from twelve yards but his overhead shot scraped just wide of the post with the keeper beaten this time.
Dan Jones rampaged forward from full-back in the closing period and could have added his name to the scoresheet after getting in to the area but his powerful shot was well held by the keeper.
Full Time: Pools 4 Rotherham United 0
Pools: Bartlett, Nearney, Bates (Turnbull 60), Banton, Jones, Cunningham, Smith, McDonagh, Walker, Paynter (Travers 60), Bingham (Elliott 60).
Dawson, Hawkes.Subs not used: