MATCH REPORT: Hartlepool United beaten 2-1 by Whitby Town

Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper walks out before the game against Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper walks out before the game against Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

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HARTLEPOOL United have been beaten 2-1 away to Whitby Town in their latest pre-season friendly.

Connor Smith opened the scoring for a youthful Pools side in the 39th minute but a brace from Chris Lynch secured the win for Whitby Town at the Turnbull Ground.

Pools manager Colin Cooper made several changes from the 3-0 defeat to Gus Poyet’s Sunderland in midweek.

Striker Luke James and trialist Tommy Miller, who has been training with the club for two weeks, were the only survivors from Wednesday night.

James and Jonathan Franks started up front, with Connor Smith wide left, Lewis Hawkins wide right, Josh Rowbotham and Miller in central midfield.

Captain for the day was right-back Jordan Richards.

Evo-Stik Premier Division side Whitby Town, who play at the Turnbull Ground, named former Pools players Lee Bullock and Mark Robinson in their team.

Whitby, managed by ex-Poolie Darren Williams who named himself on the bench, started brightly and should have taken the lead in the 5th minute.

Big number 9 Craig Farrell found himself free inside the penalty area with just Andy Rafferty to beat.

But his powerful strike was at a nice height for the Pools keeper who palmed it over the bar with both hands.

It was a fast flowing opening to the match and Cooper’s side could have taken the lead themselves in the 8th minute - left-back Dan Jones had powered forward and struck a fierce drive which was just about dealt with by Town keeper Shane Bland.

Whitby’s Chris Lynch looked handy in the opening stages and twice tested Rafferty with decent shots from the edge of the penalty area.

Rafferty, whose kicking looked a little suspect at times, was equal to both shots.

Hawkins, who had a spell on loan at Whitby a few years back, sprayed a couple of long range passes while on the other flank Smith was looking keen to impress.

Miller looked neat and tidy in possession, keeping the ball ticking over with first time passes and was well organised and vocal throughout, in his third game this week.

With 25 minutes on the clock, Franks played in Smith with a delicate through-ball. Smith forcing Bland into a smart save diving full-stretch to his left.

Franks then connected well but his curling effort was just over the Town bar as Pools started to create .

Referee Neil Sharp called a water break with 30 minutes on the clock on a warm day in Whitby.

After the re-start Lee Mason fired a strike from the edge of the penalty area inches wide of Rafferty’s right-hand stick, the ball taking a slight deflection for a corner.

Smith then went close again for Pools, this time, his effort dipped just over the bar as Pools looked to crank up the pressure on the home side.

The bright left-winger got his rewards in the 39th minute, SMITH stroking home the ball from just inside the edge of the area after a delicate assist from Miller.

Cooper’s side couldn’t hold onto the lead though, CHRIS LYNCH taking advantage of a loose ball inside the area to curl a shot low past Rafferty and into the right-hand corner of the net.

Half-Time: Whitby Town 1 Pools 1

The match was being played on a good pitch, courtesy of groundsman Eric Wilson. Cooper made two changes at the break, Scott Flinders on for Rafferty and Kieran Green on for Miller in midfield.

It was a young midfield for Pools in the second half, Green, Smith, Rowbotham and Hawkins looking to make an impression.

First sub for Whitby Town was Stuart Bath being replaced by Matthew Waters in the 52nd minute.

Two minutes later and the home side had taken the lead.

LYNCH with a low drilled finish from inside the area after Pools failed to clear a ball into the box. Flinders had no chance with the low strike.

Franks had to keep coming deep in order to get on the ball, with the away side struggling to get control of central midfield after Miller went off a the break.

The game - in front of 381 fans - was a more scrappy affair in the second-half, with Whitby making several subs and disrupting the flow of the game.

Pools had the better of the possession but struggled to create many chances of any note as the half threatened to peter out.

In the 79th minute, Cooper brought on Marlon Harewood and Jack Compton, with Franks and James the men replaced.

Harewood made a smart turn and found himself with space inside the penalty area in the 83rd minute but his low pass only found the Town defence who cleared.

Compton also looked sharp when he came on, playing centrally alongside Harewood, and he should have been awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area in the final five minutes but it was waved away.

Harewood again looked dangerous in the closing minutes but Hawkins was unable to make the most of his pass across the face of goal and it was blocked.

Pools finished strongly but couldn’t find the equalising goal.

Full-Time: Whitby Town 2 Pools 1

Pools (4-4-2): Rafferty (Flinders, 46), Richards (C), Collins, Nearney, Jones, Rowbotham, Hawkins, Miller (Green, 46), Smith, James (Compton, 79), Franks (Harewood, 79).

Subs: Bates, Austin, Duckworth, Parnaby, Holden, Walker.

Goals: Smith, (39)

Whitby (4-4-2): Bland, Hassan (Pool, 70) Robinson, Pell, Bullock (Burgess, 59), Bath (Waters, 52), Gardner (Banks, 63), Brown, Farrell (Williams, 75) Lynch (Chamberlain, 65), Mason (Shepard, 55).

Subs: Snaith.

Goals: Lynch (42, 54)

Attendance: 381

Referee: Neil Sharp