Billingham Town 0 Hartlepool United 6: Craig Harrison's Pools reign off to swaggering start

Josh Hawkes cracks home Pools third goal
Josh Hawkes cracks home Pools third goal

Hartlepool United got Craig Harrison's reign off to the perfect start, cruising to a routine win at Northern League outfit Billingham Town.

A first-half double from Josh Hawkes and another from Rhys Oates got Pools off to a flyer, before substitute Padraig Amond added another brace in the second period.

Rhys Oates netted twice on the night

Rhys Oates netted twice on the night

Pools showed early promise with Oates starting the new season like he left off last, bursting down the right to find Michael Woods, but the midfielder screwed wide from 10 yards with the goal at his mercy.

But the scores of travelling Pools, who lined all four sides of the ground, didn't have to wait too long for the opener as trialist Junior Mondal, formerly of Middlesbrough, intercepted a stray pass in the middle, then played in Hawkes, who made no mistake, rolling the ball across the keeper and into the home net.

It was 2-0 within minutes - this time Woods rolled into Oates in the area, the lively frontman netting with a strike on the turn.

The Town goal led a charmed life thereafter with Scott Harrison denied and then Carl Magnay, playing centre-half, having a smart strike palmed clear.

Manager Craig Harrison

Manager Craig Harrison

But the home side's luck was only to last so long as Hawkes bagged his second on the half hour.

The youngster then turned provider as he floated a perfectly weighted pass for Oates, who looped a header over the top of the home goalie for 4-0.

After a rampant opening 45, Harrison made 10 changes at the break, taking off every outfield player - with debutant Scott Loach the only player who remained from the starting XI.

Bright spark from the opening 45 Oates was replaced by new boy Jake Cassidy, and the former Guiseley man almost got himself on the scoresheet, seeing a flashing drive sail just inches over the bar.

New boy Luke George played the opening 45 in central midfield

New boy Luke George played the opening 45 in central midfield

The fifth came from a set-piece. A curling corner from the right was nodded on by Amond from eight yards with just 20 minutes left on the clock.

And he rounded things off late on with his second and Pools sixth as he again rose highest in a crowded area to finish.

HUFC first-half: Scott Loach, Kenton Richardson (Curtis Obeng 46), Josh Baynes (Blair Adams 46), Carl Magnay (Liam Donnelly 46), Scott Harrison (Josh Nearney 46), Luke George (Martin Smith 46), Josh Hawkes (Ryan Donaldson 46), Lewis Hawkins (Nicky Deverdics 46), Rhys Oates (Jake Cassidy 46), Michael Woods (Padraig Amond 46), Junior Mondal (Jack Munns 46).

Jack Munns in his first Pools outing

Jack Munns in his first Pools outing

Padraig Amond got a second half brace

Padraig Amond got a second half brace