Pools came from behind to taste pre-season friendly victory against Middlesbrough Under-23s as Louis Laing and Jack Munns got on the scoresheet at Victoria Park on Friday night.
Another competitive encounter provided Pools with yet more good preparation for the new campaign with both sets of players forced to work hard, particularly in a second half played out in torrential rain.
Craig Harrison opted to name a strong starting eleven with no fewer than ten of those who started the game against Sunderland also handed a shirt for the tussle with Boro.
That strength helped Pools dictate possession in the early stages though it was some carelessness from the visiting midfield which prompted the first opportunity as Jack Munns got on the ball and moved towards the edge of the box but his curling effort just went wide of the post.
Boro responded with a nice move down the right which saw Callum Johnson get forward from full-back to deliver a cross in to the front post but George Miller headed just over the bar.
There was a great chance for Padraig Amond to open the scoring when he found space at the back post to meet Ryan Donaldson’s pin-point delivery from the right but the Irishman nodded it too high.
Scott Loach had to alert to move his left and palm away a powerful effort after Marcus Tavernier unleased a stinging drive from twenty-five yards.
The second half was only seven minutes old when the visitors stole in front; Adlene Guedioura engineered a cross from the right and Miller couldn’t miss from close range and swept it past Loach to make it 1-0.
Pools fans in the Town End attempted to lift the players by increasing their noise and it almost helped bring about an equaliser as Harrison’s men swept forward down the left but when the ball fell loose to Donaldson his low drive was blocked and then cleared to safety.
The Boro lead lasted just over five minutes though; Munns delivered a perfect free-kick from the left and Louis Laing wandered in to space six yards out to nod home the leveller.
Pools were inspired by the goal and just two minutes later they were in front. Neat play from Lewis Hawkins and Michael Woods fed Munns on the left of the area and he drove to the byline before smashing an unstoppable shot in to the roof of the net from a tight angle.
There was a further opportunity for Pools after more good work down the left involving Munns, Woods and Amond but Conor Newton’s low drive skimmed wide of the post.
Boro served warning that the game wasn’t over when Johnson sneaked in at the back post to meet a free-kick but his downward header was well blocked by Loach and Pools survived the scare.
Woods could have made the game safe for Pools when the ball fell in to his path on the edge of the box but his left-footed shot took a deflection which sent it just wide of the right-hand post.
Boro almost salvaged a draw in the 87th minute and perhaps should have when Miller got in to a similar position from which he had earlier scored but this time he toe-poked his effort wide.
Full Time: Pools 2 Middlesbrough U23 1
Pools: Loach, Magnay, Laing, Harrison, Adams (Richardson 69), Newton, Hawkins, Woods, Munns, Donaldson, Amond.
Subs not used: Catterick, Hawkes, Blackford, Rodney, Sadiki.
Middlesbrough: James, Johnson, Reading, Liddle (Wing 46), Mahmutovic, Brewitt (Goode 46), Soisalo, Guedioura, Miller, Tavernier, Chapman (Curry 85).
Subs not used: Hemmings, Wilson.
Attendance: 1,299 (44 Middlesbrough)