Hartlepool United maintained their pursuit of the Central League title when supersub Connor Simpson fired them to a 2-1 win at York City.
Simpson left the bench to score the winner at Bootham Crescent after Jake Orrell, who was in the first-team squad in Saturday’s League Two victory over Crewe, had netted early in the second half.
With leaders Grimsby Town winning at Chesterfield, it was vital Pools took a maximum haul against the Minsterman to stay level on points with the Mariners.
Not only did Pools come away with the spoils, they also took the opportunity to run the rule over two triallists.
Kiwi keeper Nik Tzanev, 20, was the last line of defence while 22-year-old ex-Notts County product Malachi Lavelle-Moore played on the wing.
Tzanev, formerly Brentford’s youth team keeper, moved to the UK a decade ago but represented New Zealand in the U20 World Cup in 2015.
Lavelle-Moore began his career at Meadow Lane but was released and had spells with Macclesfield, Torquay and Boston and most recently had been playing for Ilkeston Town.
He played the first half yesterday before making way at half-time for Devante Rodney at half-time.
Sam Collins took charge of Pools and while he admitted the side were a little below-par he was happy with the players’ attitude.
“We did OK at times but I have seen us play better,” said Collins in an interview with the club’s website
“We were trying to do things a little differently to what some of them are used to and when you put across new ideas it can take time with younger players.
“The most pleasing thing was their attitude, the way they kept trying to do the right things and their work-rate was superb so I was pleased with them overall.”
There were chances at both ends in the early stages with home forward Danny Holmes shooting over the bar before Jake Orrell had a ‘goal’ ruled out for offside.
Former Pools striker Scott Fenwick captained the home team and he almost put Daniel Nti with a ball over the top, only for Tzanev to come quickly out of his area to bravely head clear, taking a blow to his head in the process.
Jake Orrell went close for Pools when he shot from just outside the area was well held by City keeper Luke Simpson.
Pools began the second half where they left off in the first by applying strong pressure.
A goal looked inevitable and it duly arrived on 53 minutes.
Orrell was put through on goal and he coolly beat Simpson with his shot from just inside the area.
But the Minstermen pulled level midway through the second half as sub Alex Bruton converted an inch-perfect cross from Holmes.
York almost took the lead a couple of minutes later when Under-16 striker Gabriel McGill, who has just signed a two-year scholarship for next season, headed goalwards from a corner with the New Zealander saving.
With 15 minutes to go, Collins sent on teenage forward Simpson and what a substitution.
Hartlepool-born winger Jack Blackford put him through with Simpson scoring with his first touch to make it 2-1.
The Minstermen applied some late pressure with Sam Fielding driving an effort just wide before Tzanev did well to deny Bruton an injury-time equaliser.
York City: Simpson, Rooney, Jackson, Holmes, Fielding, Rogerson, Martina (Freer 81), Fenwick, Edmondson (McGill 63), Nti, Connolly (Bruton 55).
Pools: Tzanev, Nearney, Pollock, Fielding, Martin, Smith (Simpson 74), Green (L Orrell 68), Elliott, Lavelle-Moore (Rodney 46), J Orrell (Blackford 55), Hawkes. Subs not used: Catterick.