Rakish Bingham scored a hat-trick for Hartlepool United but it wasn’t enough as Pools were beaten 5-3 by non-league Gateshead.
Pools boss Ronnie Moore again named a strong starting line-up for the game against the National League outfit.
It was an entertaining friendly with both sides taking advantage of some sloppy defensive play.
But defeat was the second in a week for Pools, following the 4-0 demolition by Scunthorpe United, with the new Football League season now just a fortnight away.
Michael Woods made his first start in six months, leading the side out against Gateshead at the International Stadium.
The ex-Leeds United and Chelsea youth has been out of action since the end of February when he dislocated his ankle and fractured his fibula during the League Two win over Wimbledon.
Triallist Alex Whittle was given another chance to impress against The Tynesiders, starting at left wing-back in the 3-5-2 formation.
Fellow triallist and former Leeds United midfielder Zac Thompson, was on the Pools bench.
Rakish Bingham, again partnered up front with Billy Paynter, had the first sight on goal.
He took advantage of a Craig Baxter slip to cut inside and shoot low from the edge of the area, Sam Russell with the comfortable save.
The hosts then began to exert some pressure and took the lead after nine minutes.
Pools twice had the opportunity to clear the ball but failed to do so, the ball eventually falling to Matty Pattison on the left wing, who produced a pin-point low cross to the back post.
Jon SHAW with the simplest of tap ins.
Pools settled back into their rhythm, with patient build-up play and keeping possession key.
They equalised after 20 minutes, Nicky Featherstone beating the offside trap to cross towards Paynter in the middle.
The ball was only half cleared, with BINGHAM finishing under pressure from 12-yards.
Ex-Gateshead defender Magnay almost made it 2-1, his low, fizzing effort flying just past the post after good work from Bingham.
BINGHAM was impressing and got his second after 27 minutes.
Curtis’s headed the ball back towards Russell who misjudged it, the ball rolling free for the ex-Mansfield striker to tap home.
Jimmy PHILLIPS equalised for Heed four minutes before the break, dropping his shoulder before bursting past Scott Harrison and finishing in the bottom left-hand corner.
Half-Time: Gateshead 2 Pools 2
Geordie Scott Fenwick came on for Paynter at half-time.
Within six minutes of the re-start, Thompson was on for Pools, the 22-year-old midfielder replacing Walker in central midfield.
BINGHAM scored his hat-trick in the 55th minute and it was a fluke of a goal.
His misjudged effort from the edge of the area somehow outwitted Russell in the home goal, the ball spinning off the post and over the line.
Bingham was almost too embarrassed to celebrate.
Pools held the lead for all of 10 minutes, Danny JOHNSON with a smart finish past Carson in the 65th minute after good work from Phillips down the wing.
In diving for the ball, Carson appeared to twist his groin and was quickly replaced by ex-Gateshead stopper Adam Bartlett, Moore not taking any risks.
Heed sub Wilson NEASHAM gave the hosts the lead in the 75th minute with a lovely lofted effort over Bartlett.
Jones almost equalised for Pools with a rocket of a shot but it hit the crossbar as Pools fought to get back into the game.
To compound Pools’ misery Josh GILLIES made it 5-3 in the 87th minute with a close-range finish.
Full-Time: Gateshead 5 Pools 3
Gateshead (4-4-2): Russell, Baxter, Pattison (Cranston, 55), Curtis, Clark (C) (Buddle, 61), Chandler, Ramsden, Giles, Phillips (Briggs, 83), Johnson (Neasham, 68), Shaw (Ramshaw, 61).
Subs: MacDonald, Hales, Allan, McLaughlin.
Goals: Shaw (9), Phillips (41), Johnson (65), Neasham (75), Gillies (87).
Pools (3-5-2): Carson (Bartlett, 65), Magnay (Duckworth, 75), Harrison, Worley, Jones, Whittle, Woods (C) (Nelson-Addy, 75), Featherstone, Walker (Thompson, 51), Bingham (Oates, 70) Paynter (Fenwick, 45).
Subs: Richards, Parnaby, Bates, Smith, Oyenuga.
Goals: Bingham (20, 27, 55)