A STRONG Hartlepool United reserve side had to settle for a point against a young Rotherham United team at a windswept Bedford Terrace.
Marlon Harewood, Marvin Morgan, Jack Compton, Tommy Miller and Stuart Parnaby were all named in the starting line-up at Billingham Town’s ground.
Pools, who saw Parnaby taken off after just six minutes, had the best of the chances.
Ebby Nelson-Addy also got another 90 minutes under his belt as he looks to build his match fitness after arriving at the Sky Bet League Two club from non-league.
But strong winds and rain - and a three minute stoppage for hailstones towards the end of the match - made it difficult for both sets of players.
In the end Sam Collins’ second-string had to make do with a point, the game finishing 1-1.
Pools, who saw Parnaby taken off after just six minutes, had the best of the chances though.
Compton, out of the first-team picture for the past three weeks, went close to opening the scoring.
His effort across goal took a deflection on its way behind, while Harewood saw his effort blocked from the resulting corner.
Compton was again soon involved, from another Pools corner his effort from the edge of the area was well-struck but forced a good save from Millers stopper Laurence Bilboe.
Connor Smith then struck a cushioned volley just wide of the post as they continued to build pressure.
And Collins’ experienced side finally took the lead in the 26th minute.
Smith’s shot from eight yards was blocked and fell loose to Harewood who smashed in the rebound from close range.
Harewood and Morgan should have extended the lead but both saw their attempts blocked as Pools battled against the strong winds.
Pools looked to be taking the lead into the break but four minutes from half-time, Rotherham drew level.
Jerry Yates turned 20-yards from goal before rifling a shot past Pools keeper Jon Maxted, to level the score at 1-1.
Jordan Richards was twice denied from giving Pools the lead again soon after the re-start, his first shot was blocked before Bilboe dived at his feet to prevent him scoring.
Rotherham were under the cosh but Pools couldn’t break them down, Harewood again seeing his shot saved before Richards’ follow-up was cleared off the line.
Richards was the star man second half but Pools were unable to take advantage of his positive play.
In the end Pools, who had won their previous three Final Third Development League matches, had to settle for a point.
Pools: Maxted, Richards, Holden, Miller, Nearney, Parnaby (Green 6), Smith, Nelson-Addy, Harewood, Morgan (Jewson 46), Compton.
Subs not used: Dawson, Blackford, Howes.