MATCH REPORT: Harrogate Town 0 Hartlepool United 3

ON THE ATTACK: Nobby Solana
ON THE ATTACK: Nobby Solana

HARTLEPOOL United created a hatful of chances as they ran out 3-0 victors at the leafy North Yorkshire home of Harrogate Town.

Mick Wadsworth named his strongest XI for the trip to Wetherby Road with just 10 days to go until the start of the League One season.

And the boys from Victoria Park duly emerged comfortable winners, Colin Nish, Neil Austin and James Poole on the scoresheet.

But it was Harrogate who had the first sight at goal and Ian Ross rattled the frame with a 12-yard effort which struck the base of the post.

The visitors soon took command and Nobby Solano was denied a maiden strike when his floated free-kick was kept out by former Pools goalkeeper Mark Cook.

Cook again came between Pools and opening goal when he clawed clear Antony Sweeney’s header from Evan Horwood’s out-swinging corner.

The keeper though had Laurie Wilson to thank for keeping the game goalless as, from the rebound, striker Nish saw a close-range volley blocked on the line by the midfielder.

Summer signing Nish was in the thick of the action but Cook was in inspired mood and it was his gloves which thwarted the Scot on 15 minutes after he had drilled on target from the edge of the area.

Solano turned provider for Nish on 25 minutes with a clever dink, the striker controlling before seeing a stinging volley palmed clear by that man Cook.

It was going to take something spectacular to beat the Harrogate netminder and that piece of magic arrived four minutes after half-time, full-back Neil Austin arrowing left-footed into the top corner from 20 yards.

One became two on 55 minutes, substitute goalkeeper Chris Elliot spilling a Sweeney strike with Nish turning home the loose ball from point-blank range.

Austin should have had a second when pouncing on the rebounds from a James Brown curler which had cannoned off the upright but Elliot somehow spread his frame to block on the line.

Substitute Poole then bagged his fourth of pre-season in stoppage time with a confident tuck into the bottom corner after good work from Nathan Luscombe.

And that was how it stayed with the final half hour also marking the return from injury of both Paul Murray and James Brown.

Read a full match report and reaction in Thursday’s Mail