Spennymoor 0 Hartlepool 1: Luke James' strike sees Pools stroll to another friendly win

Luke James scored his second goal in pre-season to ensure Hartlepool United also made it two wins from two this week at Spennymoor Town.

Saturday, 21st July 2018, 4:47 pm
Updated Saturday, 21st July 2018, 4:57 pm
Luke James turns home for 1-0.

The 23-year-old reacted sharpest in a crowded area to turn in after Andrew Davies had hit the post from a Liam Noble corner.

Boss Matthew Bates again went with a system which has served him so well in pre-season, opting to play James and Josh Hawkes off Niko Muir in a 3-4-2-1.

Pools' Mark Kitching.

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After a shaky opening Pools began to dominate with Liam Noble and Nicky Featherstone pulling the strings.

It was the home side who came closest to opening the scoring in the first quarter, though - Robert Ramshaw's volley skidding inches wide of Scott Loach's post.

This was a warning shot that seemed to spark Pools back into life.

Looking a constant threat from set-pieces, Pools again used Davies in the area. A Noble corner from the right found the former Middlesbrough man and his goal-bound header was expertly tipped on to the post by Matthew Gould but James was on hand to beat the defender to the ball and turn in from close range. It's two in two for the frontman after his Shildon strike in midweek.

Luke James.

Pools kept their foot on the pedal and continued to carve out opportunities and keep their National League North opposition at arm's length.

Niko Muir hit the upright with a header, but it was ruled offside, Noble also struck a post with a perfectly curled effort from distance.

At the other end, Spennymoor carried much more of an attacking threat after the break and had the ball in the net themselves on 70 but Stephen Brogan's low strike was also ruled out by the linesman.

Looking assured in their new system Pools saw the game out with relative ease - new boy Marcus Dinanga even got a run late on and looked like the livewire forward many have been tipping him to be for Bates' men.

Pools XI: Scott Loach; Carl Magnay (Louis Laing 46), Andrew Davies, Myles Anderson; Ryan Donaldson (Kenton Richardson 70), Nicky Featherstone (Michael Woods 70), Liam Noble, Mark Kitching; Josh Hawkes, :Luke James (Marcus Dinanga 63); Niko Muir (Jake Cassidy 63).

Subs: Ryan Catterick, Lewis Hawkins, Conor Newton.