Hartlepool United finished their pre-season campaign in style with a 5-0 win against Dunston UTS. Fela Olomola scored early, with braces from Mark Shelton and full debutant Harry Close saw Dave Challinor’s side convincingly defeat the Northern Premier League side, giving the team a big boost before next’s Saturday’s season opener.
Pools started strongly as Shelton had a shot on goal held, before Josh MacDonald put in cross after cross to trouble the UTS backline. It was a MacDonald cross that created the first goal. After the initial corner was half-cleared, MacDonald picked up the ball and crossed low. The ball found Fela Olomola and the forward made no mistake.
Ogle and MacDonald continued to torment Dunston’s backline and it wasn’t long before Pools had a second. After UTS had a goal ruled out for offside, Mark Shelton collected MacDonald’s cross, spun his man, and fired beyond Connell.
MacDonald had a go himself shortly after, but his long-range effort flew wide of the post. The former Halifax man was in the action again though. After a strong run down the right, his heels were clipped and Pools had a penalty. Captain-for-the-night Mark Shelton stepped up and coolly dispatched the penalty for 3-0.
Minutes later and debutant Harry Close was on the scoresheet. The teenager worked well down the left, jinked past the defender and fired in a low shot from 25 yards. He almost doubled his tally for the evening but Connell’s heroics kept him out from short-range.
The second half saw Pools once again control much of the play. A half-chance for Kanda was the closest Dunston came to the goal in the opening 15 minutes of the half, but his shot was fired high above the crossbar.
Connell continued to impress in the UTS goal, making key saves from Shelton and MacDonald to keep the score down. Baxter went into the book for the hosts after dissent – a sign of frustration at how much of the ball Pools were seeing.
With just over 15 minutes to go, Pools had five in mysterious circumstances. Smith’s clever corner found Shelton on the edge of the box and his cross-shot found the net via Harry Close’s touch.
Challinor’s team controlled the closing minutes and claimed a welcome clean sheet to prepare for Crawley’s visit next Saturday in the best way.
Pools XI: Trialist; MacDonald, Trialist, Byrne, Ogle, Angol; Smith, Crawford, Shelton; Olomola, Close