Jake Orrell fired a stoppage-time winner for Pools Reserves as they maintained their perfect start to the new campaign with a 2-1 victory over Rotherham United at Billingham Town.
It looked as though Pools were going to have to settle for a point when Tom Heardman’s 60th-minute goal was quickly cancelled out by the visitors but Orrell struck deep in to injury time to nick all three points and make it three wins from three for Sam Collins’ men.
Jordan Richards got forward well in the early stages but fizzed a ball right across goal where nobody could get a touch, while at the other end Jerry Yates seized on a defensive error but was denied by Pools young keeper Ryan Catterick.
A clever turn and pass from Brad Fewster set Jake Orrell though on The Millers’ goal but keeper Lewis Price was alert and came off his line quickly to smother the shot.
Richards took advantage of a kind break on the right to charge forward in to the area but this time his shot was deflected just wide of the far post.
The game continued to go from one end to the other in the opening period; Yates headed a half chance over for the visitors before Connor Smith raced free on the right for Pools but nobody could get a decisive touch on his teasing cross.
Kuda Muskwe was well-placed to score when Rotherham winger Darnelle Bailey sent a ball in from the left but the front man fluffed his lines and his tame shot was held by Catterick.
Richards continued to be a great outlet for Pools down the right and he picked up a sweeping ball from Brad Walker but again his effort was deflected wide of the target/
Arguable Pools’ best chance of the half fell to Fewster when he found space at the back post to meet Orrell’s right-wing cross but the on-loan front man headed an effort back across goal and wide.
It was The Millers who began the second half on the front foot when Muskwe found space on the edge of the area to fire a shot on goal but it was palmed away well by Catterick.
And Pools made the most of that let-off on the hour mark when Orrell turned skilfully in to space on the right side of the area and dinked a ball across for Tom Heardman whose header just about crossed the line despite the best efforts of Price.
The lead was short-lived though because Rotherham were back on level terms five minutes later when Anthony Forde’s left-wing corner was powerfully met by Muskwe at the front post and his header flew in to the bottom corner of the net.
Pools had a great opportunity to restore their lead with just over fifteen minutes remaining when Orrell was tripped in the box but Brad Walker’s driven penalty was well-saved by Price to his left.
Substitute Josh Hawkes did well on the edge of the box to thread a ball through to Smith but his low ball across goal was hacked to safety after some pinball inside the visitors’ six-yard area.
Darnelle Bailey-King had a late opening for Rotherham when he cut inside from the left corner of the box but his stinging right-foot drive was always going just wide of the far post.
However, there was a sting in the tail when Smith fed Hawkes in down the right of the box and his low cross was volleyed in to the roof of the net at the front post by Orrell as Pools stole all three pints at the death.
Full Time: Pools 2 Rotherham United 1
Pools: Catterick, Richards (Richardson 72), Martin, Green, Wise, Pollock, Smith, Walker, Heardman (Hawkes 60), Fewster (Blackford 60), Orrell.
Moloney, Fielding.Subs not used: