HARTLEPOOL United were beaten 1-0 by Blackburn Rovers at the Suit Direct Stadium but there was plenty of encouragement for Paul Hartley and the home fans.
The free-moving Championship team won it 11 minutes from time by Jack Vale’s well-worked goal, but Pools had their moments in a contest which was very enjoyable on the eye.
Jon Dahl Tomasson’s Blackburn were grateful twice to their crossbar, with Jake Hastie and Alex Lacey.
The crowd got their first look at Hamilton when he was introduced as a second-half sub.
The 22-year-old was announced as Hartley’s 11th signing ahead of the friendly, joining on a season-long loan from Livingston, with Pools having the option to make the transfer permanent.
He looked strong and positive, having one crack at goal.
Rollin Menayese, who also joined Pools on a season-long loan this week, wore blue and white for the first time and slotted in nicely alongside Alex Lacey in a defence that had a lot of defending to do.
Rovers began in breathless fashion with some beautiful passing and movement.
Pools had another Championship outfit here at the Suit Direct Stadium last season in Blackpool and while they had a bundle of chances that day, it was hard to recall them being anything like their fellow Lancashire club.
They almost led inside five minutes when some exquisite one-touch passing released Sam Gallagher who slid his shot wide of Killip’s left post.
Pools barely got to touch the ball, but when they did, they came desperately close to scoring.
Hastie cut in off the right side onto his left foot, with his shot striking the bar.
Brody Paterson, handed a start at left-back, tried his luck from the edge of the box soon after, but his shot was off target.
Harry Leonard should have done better from the edge of the area but his shot rolled tamely into Killip’s arms while Gallagher’s attempt on the turn five minutes before the break slammed into the advertising boards at the Town End.
Pools began the second half with great vigour with Umerah narrowly off target while the hosts won a couple of corners.
Jack Vale seemed to be the Rover doing all the shooting in the second period, going wide on 55 minutes before being denied by a magnificent Killip save diving full length to his left just before the hour.
Vale had another pop at goal 20 minutes from time while Gallagher went over after a brilliant turn which deserved a better reward.
Pools made a number of changes, and altered the formation too, with subs David Ferguson and Reghan Tumlty operating as wing-backs with Reagan Ogle, Lacey and Mouhamed Niang as the defenders.
They were denied by the bar again in the 67th minute when Lacey found it with a volley following good work by Niang at a corner.
Blackburn would have been upset if they had left town without scoring and the goal duly arrived on 80 minutes.
An intricate passing move on the edge of the box opened up Pools and Vale’s finish as low and precise.
There was a late flourish from Pools when Tumilty put over a deep cross from the right but Ferguson could not make a clean connection.
Pools: Killip; Ogle, Lacey, Menayese, Paterson; Niang Cooke; Grey, Crawford, Hastie; Umerah. Subs used: Tumilty, Ferguson, Shelton, Featherstone, Trallist, Hamilton. Sub not used: Letheran
Blackburn: Pears; Costello, Ayala, Barnes, Edun; Buckley, Garrett; Gallagher, Leonard, Markanday; Vale
Referee: Tony Harrington
Attendance: 1,512 (away 349)