Ex-Sunderland youngster Nathan Thomas shows attacking spark

Jermain Defoe in charge against Pools. Picture by KEVIN BRADY

Jermain Defoe in charge against Pools. Picture by KEVIN BRADY

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Jermain Defoe was the star of the night but Hartlepool United had their own attacking diamond – Nathan Thomas.

The gifted forward led the home threat in the second half after being brought on after the interval.

It’s still early in pre-season, I’m sure by the start of League Two I’ll have the ball whistling across

NATHAN THOMAS

Thomas got the better of young defender Josh Robson several times and came closest to scoring, his header from a 50th-minute corner hitting Jordan Pickford’s post before being hacked clear.

Released by the Black Cats as a teenager, the Teessider was desperate to score.

“I’ve glanced it nicely but it’s hit the post – just my luck against Sunderland,” smiled the 21-year-old.

“There was another when I’ve whizzed one in and it’s hit the keeper’s forearm and hit the post.

“I tried to give us some width second half and I had the chance to go one-on-one against their right-back and I got past him a few times.

“That final ball didn’t quite come off, but it’s still early in pre-season, I’m sure by the start of League Two I’ll have the ball whistling across.”

Pools gave as good as they got in the second half, forcing eight corners.

But the first period was a tough 45 as Sunderland’s first-choice side played some great stuff.

“It’s always going to be hard when you are pitting yourselves against a Premier League team,” Thomas admitted.

“The first half you could see the quality they had – Defoe was brilliant and his second goal ridiculous.

“That is the difference when you come up against these teams, they have forwards who can do stuff like that.

“It was hard for the boys but there was a spell early on when we looked really good.

“And in the second half, when they changed their team around I thought we were the better side.

“There is definitely plenty to build on.

“We showed our quality against a side like Sunderland and if we do that when League Two starts in two and a half weeks we can be a match for anyone.

“Hopefully, we can go and do really well this season.”