Hartlepool 3 Morecambe 2: Pools end year on a high with Shrimps victory

Billy Paynter and Padraig Amond.
Billy Paynter and Padraig Amond.

Hartlepool United ended 2016 by cruising to a 3-2 victory over Morecambe at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

First-half goals from Padraig Amond, Billy Paynter and Nicky Featherstone got Pools off to a flyer before Andrew Fleming got one back in the second period. Ryan Edwards scored with the final kick of the game.

The opener came when Amond took down a loose ball in the area and, with his back to goal, turned and looped a volley over the head of Barry Roche.

It was an outstanding piece of skill from the Irishman. And it was just what the doctor ordered for relegation-threatened Pools and boss Craig Hignett.

What Amond can do, so can Paynter.

The club captain, who has been a peripheral figure this season, despite being the man of the moment last, slotted home a penalty just three minutes later to send the home fans into raptures.

The spot-kick was awarded after a needless handball from Ryan Edwards.

It was 3-0 in less than half an hour at the Vic as Featherstone got in on the act.

The Pools midfielder's bursting run from deep was found expertly by Michael Woods at the end of a flowing move.

Rhys Turner hit the upright for shell-shocked Morecambe just before the break but the match was just about won as Pools went down the tunnel after the first 45.

Or was it?

Just seven minutes after the break Jim Bentley's men offered themselves a lifeline in the game as Fleming's strike ricocheted into the roof of Trevor Carson's net.

But instead of wilting under the Shrimps' heat, Pools weathered the storm, although Edwards did net from a corner with the final kick of the game, as the hosts held out for a valuable three points which saw them edge away from the dreaded League Two dropzone.