Carson makes first start for Hartlepool in 3-3 reserve draw with Middlesbrough

Keeper Trevor Carson in action for Hartlepool United
Keeper Trevor Carson in action for Hartlepool United

Trevor Carson made his first start for Hartlepool United this season as the reserves came back to claim a 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough.

The Final Third Development League Cup tie was a thrilling encounter at Billingham Town’s Bedford Terrace, with Pools equalising late on through a stunning Kudus Oyenuga strike.

Carson, missing since breaking his toe on the eve of the new season, started in goal having been named on the bench for the first team’s 4-1 defeat to Luton Town on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Pools also handed a game to Dutch trialist Sem De Wit for the group stage clash.

Pools survived an early penalty shout, when Kieran Green bundled Hartlepool-born Harrison Chapman over – but the referee adjudged it just outside the area.

Scott Fenwick broke the deadlock just past the quarter hour mark, powering home a header to press his claims for a first team recall.

It was soon 2-0 Pools. Nine minutes later Oyenuga outwitted his man on the left of the box before keeping his composure to feed Fenwick and his low shot was stabbed in from close range by De Wit.

Chapman got one back for Boro just before half-time, driving forward into the Pools box before prodding the ball through Carson’s legs to halve the deficit before the break.

Carson was called on to make a smart save from Chapman at the front post but from the following corner Boro equalised. Mark Kitching clipping a shot over the Pools keeper to level the scores at 2-2.

Bradley Fewster, linked with a loan move to Pools at the start of last season, tucked away a penalty to give Boro the lead in the 74th minute.

With just 30 seconds of normal time left on the clock, up stepped Oyenuga who struck a wonderful equaliser, with his volley flying into the top corner.

Brad Walker missed a late chance to win the game for Pools.

With Carson getting 90 minutes under his belt, the former Cheltenham stopper is now pressing for a first team start, with Pools heading to Northampton Town in League Two this weekend.

The Northern Ireland international was brought in this summer as the new number one to replace Scott Flinders who left for York City but fractured his toe in training. That led to Adam Bartlett stepping in and he has impressed, despite conceding seven goals in his last two games.

Pools: Carson, Nearney, Jones, Green, Howes, Walker, Oyenuga, Hawkins, Elliott (Nelson-Addy 75), De Wit, Fenwick. Subs not used: Denton, Wood, Turnbull, Jewson. Booked: Oyenuga, Nearney, Howes.