Pools continued their encouraging start to pre-season with another comfortable win in the Saturday afternoon sunshine at Shildon.
Craig Hignett was once again able to give the majority of his squad minutes on the pitch and they produced a powerful performance which the Northern League Division One outfit couldn’t live with, helping themselves to six unanswered goals at Dean Street.
Pools got off to the perfect start when Gime Toure showed great pace to get away down the left before pulling a low ball back across the edge of the area for Liam Noble who struck a fine shot in off the right-hand post with just four minutes gone.
That set the tone for the opening period and Toure continued to cause real problems for the home defence, almost getting on the scoresheet when he was fed through by Josh Hawkes but Shildon keeper Shaun Newbrook raced from his line to smother at the front man’s feet.
Toure then once again turned provider as he held on to possession on the edge of the area to set-up Peter Kioso but his shot from the edge of the box just didn’t curl enough and went wide.
Gus Mafuta was also standing out in midfield and he almost marked his first appearance in a Pools shirt with a goal but his whipped effort from twenty yards was tipped round the post at full stretch by Newbrook.
It was 2-0 midway through the first half when Hawkes’ corner from the right was met by Jason Kennedy and his stooping header flashed across goal and in to the far corner of the net.
Ben Killip was forced off as a precaution just before the break after taking a knock whilst punching clear a cross – Ryan Catterick came on in his place.
When play restarted, Pools almost grabbed a third goal when a quick free-kick was shifted left for Mark Kitching to gallop forward but he flashed an effort across goal and wide.
The lively Toure looked desperate to get his name on the scoresheet and turned brilliantly in to space twenty yards out before driving powerfully on goal but the strike was held by the keeper.
Mafuta let fly with another thunderbolt from distance which Newbrook did well to turn round the post as Pools pressed for a third goal before the break.
And Shildon’s resistance was broken from the resultant corner when Noble’s delivery found Aaron Cunningham whose first header was blocked but the ball fell kindly for the young defender who rammed it home to make it 3-0 right on the half-time whistle.
Pools made eight changes at the break, only Catterick, Cunningham and Kioso continuing in to the second half as Craig Hignett switched things around.
And the new arrivals almost combined to create a wonderful goal just four minutes after the restart; a flowing move involving several players set Gavan Holohan in to space on the edge of the area but he fired a shot just over.
Luke Molyneux came even closer moments later when he came in dangerously from the right and let fly but the Shildon keeper got across well to his right to turn away the goalbound shot.
Niko Muir spread the ball intelligently to the left for Holohan before running to the edge of the area to receive the return pass but his curling shot was parried clear by the keeper.
Pools did make it 4-0 on the hour though. Trialist Liam Smith fed the ball in to Luke James and the front man clipped an inventive return pass over the Shildon defence for Smith to run on to and finish.
Muir then got through on the right, sat the goalkeeper down with a clever feint but then saw his shot come back off the base of the post from a tight angle.
The front man was looking a threat and he was released on goal again minutes later but this time the Shildon keeper stayed on his feet to block the shot.
However, it wasn’t long before Pools had their fifth. Molyneux darted inside from the right with the ball before drilling a sweet low shot in at the near post to make it 5-0 to Pools.
Molyneux almost created a sixth when he found space again on the right and danced all the way in to the box before stumbling and, as the ball rolled loose, Holohan fired it over the bar.
Pools continued to control the second half and could have added further to their lead, Luke James saw an acrobatic effort blocked, while Smith dragged a shot wide after more wonderful running from Molyneux created the opening.
It was fitting that the outstanding Molyneux put the icing on the cake with a sixth goal four minutes from time, wriggling his way inside from the right and then drilling an unstoppable finish past the keeper.
The former Sunderland man officially unveiled Shildon’s new stand a couple of years ago – on this second half showing they may not invite him back for their next grand opening.
Full Time: Shildon 0 Pools 6
Pools First Half: Killip (Catterick 39), Kioso, Raynes, Cunningham, Kitching, Mafuta, Kennedy, Noble, Hawkes, Kabamba, Toure.
Pools Second Half: Catterick, Cunningham (Webster 66), Kioso (Leonard 75), Richardson, Featherstone, Bale, Holohan, Smith, Molyneux, James, Muir.