Hartlepool United’s League Two campaign got off to a disappointing start as Walsall ran out 4-0 winners at the Poundland Bescot Stadium.
After a quiet opening 15 minutes, it was Walsall that seized the initiative and pushed forwards in numbers. A short corner caught Pools out and when the ball fell to Comley, a deflected shot spun past Killip to give the hosts the lead.
Seven minutes later, the Saddlers doubled their lead. After Pools pushed forwards, Walsall broke on the counter and on-loan forward Danny Johnson fired past Killip at the second attempt.
Pools pushed further forwards after the second goal and almost got an instant response when Umerah fired narrowly wide. Half-chances followed for Walsall, but no further clear cut chances came in the first half.
Walsall started the second half as they’d finished the first and Johnson had his second goal of the afternoon in the 58th. The ball found him in the box and he slammed a deflected strike into the roof of the net.
Then, with just under 15 minutes to go, Johnson completed his hat trick. A ball to the back post left Killip stranded and the Mansfield loanee slid in at the back post to make it four.
With a few minutes left, Pools almost grabbed a consolation but the ‘keeper made a smart double-save from Hastie at the front post.
Pools now turn their attention to next Saturday’s home game against AFC Wimbledon.
Pools XI: Killip; Tumilty (Sterry 72), Lacey, Ferguson; Niang, Featherstone, Cooke; Hastie, Umerah, Taylor (Hamilton 55)
Unused Subs: Letheren, Paterson, Crawford, Shelton
Paul Hartley gave his reaction after today's defeat. You can find the full video here.
Full match highlights from Saturdays game can be found here. A free account is required to watch iFollow videos.