HARTLEPOOL United were outclassed by Newcastle United as an early three-goal blitz helped the Premier League side to a 5-1 victory at Victoria Park.
Alan Pardew’s men were two goals to the good after just four minutes thanks to efforts from Shola Ameobi and Sylvain Marveaux and they had a third when the latter doubled his tally from the penalty spot on 12 minutes.
Haris Vuckic added a fourth after half-time and Gabriel Obertain smashed a fifth either side of a Tony Sweeney reply on the hour mark.
It took just three minutes for The Magpies to find a breakthrough, Romain Amalfitano afforded too much room down the right and his low centre was turned beyond Scott Flinders with ease by Ameobi from six yards.
The hosts were still holding an inquest into the opener when another routine ball over the top sent Ameobi clear and he crossed for Marveaux to poke home at the second attempt.
And Marveaux had his second from the spot after Ameobi, again bursting clear in behind a static home defence, was felled by an exposed Flinders.
It took until the 15th minute for Pools to register an effort on goal, Simon Walton testing Steve Harper from 20 yards.
But it could have been four for the visitors when James Tavernier sprung Marveaux clear, the Frechman only denied a hat-trick goal by the boot of Flinders.
The Geordies continued to threaten and Flinders had to be on his guard to smuggle an inadvertent Peter Hartley header around the post.
Pools survived until the break without further concession but eight minutes after the restart their target had been breached once more, substitute Vuckic seizing on a deflected shot before delicately dropping over Flinders from close range.
But Pools did restore some pride when Sweeney pounced upon a loose ball inside the six-yard area after Newcastle had failed to clear a Neil Austin free-kick and he hooked home his second of the summer.
Sweeney had a chance for a second soon after but blazed wide, while Jonathan Franks had a pop from similar range but he too missed Harper’s target.
And the last meaningful act of an otherwise pedestrian final half hour was Obertan’s low drive into the bottom corner seven minutes from time.