ZAK Boagey was Hartlepool United’s hat-trick hero as they strode to an easy 5-0 victory at Billingham Town.
The 18-year-old seized his chance to impress watching boss Colin Cooper and had completed his treble by the half-hour mark, later laying on goals for Greg Rutherford and James Poole to crown his man-on-the-match display.
Pools, fielding a young side, bossed for the entirety at Bedford Terrace and should have plundered more than their eventual total.
It was Billingham who were first to threaten, however, Dan Wray glancing wide a header from 12 yards having risen to connect with a teasing, free-kick delivery.
But two Pools trialists soon drew warm applause from the crowd when combining on 10 minutes.
Michael Duckworth drove to the touchline before drawing back for Nialle Rodney to disptach a volley from 10 yards, his effort zipping narrowly above the crossbar.
The same player went close not long after when dragging the ball between two blue shirts only to misfire when in on goal.
But Boagey made no such mistake on 13 minutes when slotting Pools into the lead.
Rutherford had measured a chip from the edge of the area and, when it came back off the crossbar, Boagey was on hand to control and tuck home.
And the forward had his second on 20 minutes, the goal owing everything to awareness and skill.
Nicking possession on the edge of the area, he strode clear of his minder before dropping the most delicate of dinks above and beyond home goalkeeper Graeme Willey.
Poole was then denied by Willey’s acrobatic arm after he had taken aim with a 20-yard free-kick, while Rodney shaved the crossbar with a rising drive from similar range.
But the hosts forged an opening of their own at the other end and Andy Rafferty had to get down low to glove clear a Dan Brunskill volley.
Boagey, though, soon had his treble.
Again it was Rutherford the provider as his cushioned header landed at the 18-year-old’s feet and he did the rest with a neat swivel and hooked finish from six yards.
And Boagey returned the favour when he squared for Rutherford to make it four on 33 minutes.
Lewis Hawkins struck a post as the half neared its conclusion with Pools in complete control.
It was a similar story after the break and Poole tested Willey with a daisy-cutter from distance.
But the striker had his goal on 57 minutes with Boagey once more the source.
Threading a pass in-between two home defenders, the hat-trick hero released his team-mate clear on goal and he obliged with a tidy tuck into the bottom corner.
Poole went in search of a second and a late scissor-kick was scrambled to safety by Willey.