Hartlepool Utd 3 Torquay Utd 0: Harewood off mark in Pools cruise

Luke James fires in a shot for Hartlepool against Torquay. Picture by Frank Reid
Luke James fires in a shot for Hartlepool against Torquay. Picture by Frank Reid

MARLON Harewood scored his first Hartlepool United goal as Pools put Sky Bet League Two’s botttom club Torquay United to the sword.

The much-travelled striker made his 30-yard run count in stunning fashion in the 64th minute at Victoria Park.

Luke James put him clear and Harewood showed great nerve to finish from 16 yards past Michael Poke.

That made it 3-0 for Pools after goals by Jack Barmby and Luke James.

Barmby had scored superbly on the half-hour with James heading in his 14th of the season nine minutes into the second half.

Pools enjoyed the better of the quiet opening exchanges against the Gulls .

Colin Cooper’s side had the first sight of the opposition goal in the fifth minute.

Brad Walker made a driving run up the middle and did well to find Luke James, whose shot was blocked by a good challenge from Aaron Downes.

There was another opening for Pools seconds later but Darren Holden, finding himself in a great position also found himself on his weaker right foot and his shot trickled through to Mike Poke.

Pools were looking bright enough and Jack Barmby, Andy Monkhouse and Marlon Harewood were involved in some good build-up play but there was no threat to the Gulls goal.

However, there was real danger at the other end in the 15th minute when Pools were fortunate to escape.

Right-back Anth O’Connor cut into the box and fired a super left-foot shot the keeper did well to save.

The ball ran loose and and an almighty scramble broke out on the six-yard line where Flinders did well to re-gather with Elliot Benyon having several kicks at the ball, much to the annoyance of the home defence and the fans in the Hartlepool College of FE stand.

After the promise early doors, the play went flat, with Shamir Goodwin briefly bringing it to life with determined play down the left for the Gulls but no-one was there to accept his good cross.

But when Pools came to life they did so in spectacular fashion.

Pools broke into the Torquay final third with good play from James and Harewood. It seemed the initial threat had gone but BARMBY got the ball 12 yards out and shot superbly high into Poke’s net.

After such a brilliant piece of play Pools failed to build on it and Torquay were the next to get in shots, albeit from long range, Flinders saving from 30 yarders by full-backs Kevin Nicholson and O’Connor.

All the efforts on goal were from Torquay.

And they were almost level in the 43rd minute.

Enoch Showunmi made a great run forward and played a net pull-back to Benyon.

The diminutive forward turned neatly and his right-foot shot was saved superbly high to his left by Flinders for a corner.

It was the cue for a spell of Gulls pressure and there was a scare in stopage time when Nicholson’s free-kick was met by the head of Sam Collins with his interception flying just wide of Flinders goal.

Half-time

Pools 1

Torquay Utd 0

Pools were the first out of the blocks in the second 45 minutes with James cutting in from the left.

The striker ran across the edge of the 18-yard line but shot went well wide of Poke’s left post.

Despite that bit of Lukey magic, Pools still looked happy to let Torquay have a lot of play.

Pools came back to life with Barmby showing neat footwork on the edge of the away box in the 50th minute to open up room for a shot, but this time it was over Poke’s bar.

But a second goal arrived in the 54th minute.

James won a corner down the right off Kristian Pearce. And the young striker then showed his skill with his head as he nodded Barmby’s delivery into the far corner of Poke’s goal from eight yards.

Torquay were not a bad side at all and they kept coming forward and continued to have the majority of the shots on goal.

Ben Harding had a shot saved by Flinders while Collins blocked an attempt by Benyon.

Walker tried his luck from 32 yards from a central position but, while on target it was too tame to trouble Poke.

The killer third arrived on 64 minutes and it was the moment the Vic went berserk - a goal by HAREWOOD.

James did superbly did well to release the 34-year-old striker who had the freedom of the Vic to stride forward on goal.

He still had plenty to do but his right-foot shot from 16 yards was a composed one and Poke could not keep it out.

Harewood celebrated long and hard in front of the Town End and after a long wait for his first Pools goal, you could not blame him.

Torquay boss Chris Hargreaves made a double change 17 minutes from time, replacing strikers Showunmi and Benyon with Jordan Chappell and Jay Stockley.

Colin Cooper made some changes of his own, taking off Walker and Barmby and bringing on Lewis Hawkins and Antony Sweeney.

Hawkins was straight into the action with an excellent through ball which Harewood dummied for Sweeney but the Gulls defence intercepted before trhe club captain could get on the end of it.

The second biggest cheer of the day arrived on 82 minutes, Harewood leaving the Vic to rapturous applause with Jon Franks coming on as sub.

The Gulls missed a glorious injury-time chance when Pearce went wide with a free header from a free-kick.