Hartlepool hammered 4-0 by Scunthorpe

Billy Paynter in action for Hartlepool United
Billy Paynter in action for Hartlepool United

Hartlepool United’s unbeaten start to pre-season has been ended after a 4-0 hammering at home to Scunthorpe United.

Paddy Madden hit a hat-trick and Luke Williams curled in a free-kick as Pools were comfortably outplayed at Victoria Park.

League One Iron dominated proceedings from the off and Pools looked off the pace and devoid of ideas in the final third.

It was the toughest test of the pre-season programme so far and Ronnie Moore gave the strongest indication yet of what his first team is likely to be this season. Or at least what he had planned it to be.

New signings Trevor Carson, Harry Worley, Carl Magnay, Jake Carroll, Rakish Bingham and Billy Paynter all started, with Dan Jones and Scott Harrison alongside Worley at the back in a 3-5-2 formation.

Michael Woods, who dislocated his ankle and fractured his fibula at the end of February, was among the subs.

But there was no place for Kudus Oyenuga in the squad, the winger rested after a busy week building his fitness at the training ground.

It wasn’t long before Iron began to flex their League One muscles.

Captain Scott Harrison’s mistake let in ex-Pools loanee Williams who passed to Madden on the edge of the area, his low strike gave Carson no chance.

Six minutes later it was 2-0. Jordan Clarke allowed too much time to cross towards Madden, who had sneaked between the Pools defence to power home a header from six yards.

Pools carved out their best chance after 26 minutes, striker Billy Paynter hitting the crossbar with a firm header from a corner.

The hosts enjoyed more possession as the half wore on but struggled to create anything of note, with Scunthorpe quicker to everything.

Scunthorpe extended their lead seven minutes into the second-half, Williams’ free-kick from 20-yards deflected past a flat-footed Carson.

Williams deserved his goal, he was excellent and looked on a different level to the majority of players on the pitch.

It was flat off the pitch and flat on it too, a typical pre-season friendly but Moore won’t have been pleased with what he was watching.

It soon got worse, Madden capitalising on a mistake from Worley to score his hat-trick from close range and make it 4-0 - despite the best efforts of Carson to keep him out.

Bingham hit the post an hour in. Played in by Matthew Bates, the former Mansfield Town striker took it well but saw his effort rebound off the woodwork.

Woods made his long-awaited return from injury after 65 minutes - to rapturous applause from the home crowd.

But he couldn’t inspire a dramatic comeback, with Pools drifting towards their first defeat of pre-season – and a heavy one at that.

Pools (3-5-2): Carson, Harrison (C), Worley, Jones (Duckworth, 45), Magnay, Bates (Woods, 65), Featherstone, Walker, Carroll (Whittle, 75), Bingham (Fenwick, 65), Paynter (Oates, 65).

Subs: Bartlett, Duckworth, Whittle, Richards, Parnaby, Nelson-Addy, Smith.

Scunthorpe: Anyon, Wiseman, Laird, Canavan, Williams, Madden, Dawson, King, Hopper, Ness (Bishop, 21), Clarke.

Subs: Ledger, McAllister, McSheffrey, Van Keen, Wootton, Boyle, Mirfin, Syers, Assenso.

Goal: Madden (10, 16, 57), Williams (52).