HARTLEPOOL United are losing 3-1 at half-time to Northampton Town at the Sixfields Stadium.
Pools got off to the perfect start in the first minute thanks to a composed finish from Charlie Wyke - who was later carried off with a serious looking head injury.
Colin Cooper’s side couldn’t hold onto the lead for long though and Chris Wilder’s Northampton rocked Pools with three first-half goals from Marc Richards and a brace from Kaid Mohamed.
It was a frantic and entertaining opening 45 minutes but Pools went into the break trailing 3-1.
Colin Cooper made just one change with Stuart Parnaby in for Jordan Richards at right back.
New loan signing, goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, signed on a month-long loan deal from Newcastle United today and was named on the bench.
It had all started so well for Pools - who hadn’t won at Northampton Town since 1969.
WYKE took advantage of a clinical through ball from Tommy Miller before a composed low finish past Jordan Archer in only the first minute.
The goal was recorded at just 46 seconds.
The pace of the game barely settled in the opening 10 minutes and it wasn’t long before Town drew level from the penalty spot.
Neil Austin lost out at left-back and the ball was cut across the penalty area by Marc Richards towards Kaid Mohamed.
He was cut down by Parnaby in the 12th minute.
It was a clear foul and RICHARDS stepped up to fire a firm shot to the left of Flinders, who dived the right way but couldn’t stop it.
There was barely time to draw breath.
Twenty minutes in and Chris Wilder’s Northampton had taken the lead.
Chris Hackett crossed from the right flank to the edge of the box and Mohamed drilled it past Flinders to make it 2-1 Town.
It was a sickening blow for Pools after taking the lead so early on in the match.
There was then a lengthy stoppage in play after to allow Wyke to receive treatment inside the penalty area.
The on-loan Middlesbrough forward was on the receiving end of a heavy blow to the back of his head and after treatment from both physios and paramedics he was stretchered off.
Marlon Harewood his replacement from the bench.
With 33 minutes gone Pools had an excellent chance to pull level, Harewood with the backheel to Jack Compton who flashed a shot which was just inches wide of the right-hand post.
They were made to pay moments later.
Hackett again was given too much time and space on the right wing to chip a cross towards the back post where dangerman MOHAMED got up above Parnaby to head in from a yard.
It was too easy and Pools were now 3-1 down.
Six minutes of added-on time was signalled, as a result of the injury to Wyke mid-way through the first half.
Town had further chances to add to the scoring as the game approached half-time, Mohamed with a looping header from a corner just over the bar.
Half-time: Northampton Town 3 Pools 1
Pools (4-4-2): Flinders, Austin, Bates (C), Harrison, Parnaby, Brobbel, Miller, Walker, Compton, Franks, Wyke (Harewood 28).
Subs Not Used: Woodman, Holden, Collins, Richards, Jones, Woods.
Goals: Wyke (1)
Northampton (4-4-2): Archer, Alfei, Robertson, Cresswell, Diamond (C) (Collins, 41), Mohamed, Hackett, D’Ath, Bryom, Watson, Richards.
Subs Not Used: Snedker, Toney, Carter, Collins, O’Toole, Tozer, Ravenhill.
Goals: Richards (12), Mohamed (20,35)
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)
Sixfields Stadium, Northampton.