MATTHEW Bates, Nicky Featherstone and Brad Walker all got a run out as Hartlepool United reserves suffered a second-half collapse against Hull City, writes RICHARD MENNEAR.
An experienced Pools side went into half-time of their Final Third Development League Cup match at Billingham Town leading 2-0.
Brad Walker and Connor Smith netted for Pools before a poor second-half, showing saw them concede three times.
Pools had beaten Gateshead but lost to Middlesbrough and Scunthorpe United in the previous group stage matches.
Billingham-born Walker opened the scoring in the 6th minute, the 19-year-old picking the ball up 25-yards out before advancing and curling a shot past Tigers keeper Rory Watson.
Pools, who played Smith up front, competed well against the Premier League counterparts in the opening stages.
But Hull should have equalised in the 23rd minute, forward Eoghan McCwal blazing over from inside the area following good work down the left from Calaum Jahraldo Martin.
Bates, dropped to the bench for the Cheltenham Town match at the weekend, started alongside Josh Nearney at the back with captain Featherstone in the holding role.
Pools bossed the first half but clear cut chances were few and far between, with Nat Skidmore wasting two good chances to whip a ball into the Tigers area.
John Hewitson was leading the side, with assistant manager Sam Collins barking the orders alongside him at Bedford Terrace.
Pools doubled their lead three minutes before the break through Smith’s exquisite chip from all of 35 yards.
Watson slipped as he kicked a clearance and Pools capitalised with Smith catching him out with the fine lob as the Tigers stopper ran back towards his goal.
Walker was taken off at the break, replaced by Jack Blackford.
It was a more open second half, with Jahraldo Martin shooting over the cross bar before Smith curled a similar effort over.
Hull then started to flex their muscles.
Greg Leur shot just over in the 65th minute before Johan Ter Horst forced Johnny Maxted into a comfortable save 30 seconds later, his first save of the afternoon.
He was soon called on again though, sub Karim Rossi forcing him into a smart stop with his legs as Hull pressed forward.
A Tigers goal was coming and in the 72nd minute it came through Matthew Dixon’s low, composed finish past Maxted.
Rossi should have equalised three minutes later after dancing his way through the Pools defence but he shot wide of the post.
It was a poor second-half performance from Pools, who sat deep and invited pressure.
They got what they deserved in the 83rd minute, Rossi taking advantage of some awful defending to equalise – Maxted made to pay for a sloppy clearance.
Smith then forced Watson into a point blank block before Hull got the winner in the 87th minute.
Ter Horst curled an effort off the post before Rossi prodded home the winner.
FT: Pools 2 Hull City 3
Pools: Maxted, Richards, Nearney, Bates, Holden, Hawkins, Featherstone, Skidmore (Jewson, 63), Walker (Blackford, 46), Smith, Mitchinson (Howes, 55).
Subs Not Used: Barber, Carr.
Goals: Walker (6), Smith (42)
Hull: Watson, Pugh, O’Connor, Dixon, Clappison, Tancock, Leur, March, Ter Horst, McCwal (Rossi, 63), Jahraldo Martin.
Subs Not Used: Walker, Langton, McKenzie, Penny.
Goal: Dixon (72), Rossi (83, 87)