`

NINE Hartlepool United first-team players get gametime in behind-closed-doors Middlesbrough friendly

Marcus Dinanga.
Marcus Dinanga.

Marcus Dinanga netted his first Hartlepool United goal as a Pools XI were beaten by Middlesbrough in a behind-closed-doors friendly.

Striker Dinanga was one of NINE squad members to get minutes under their belts at Rockliffe Hall as a Boro side, including former Pools striker Jordan Hugill and keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos, ran out 4-1 winners.

Kenton Richardson, Conor Newton, Josh Hawkes, Paddy McLaughlin, Jake Cassidy, Lewis Hawkins, Ryan Catterick and Louis Laing all started the game.

Only Cassidy and McLaughlin did not complete the 90, while an unknown trialist got 65 minutes in defence.

Manager Matthew Bates was delighted that a number of his players, all on the fringes of his starting XI, got time out on the park.

He said: "It was good to get the game organised and give some minutes on the pitch to players,” said boss Matthew Bates, who led the side at Rockliffe.

"We’ve got a very competitive squad so the lads need to keep their match fitness ticking over so in that respect it was a very useful exercise.

"The game was competitive and we got plenty out of it so we’re thankful to Middlesbrough for providing the opposition.”

Dinanga got Pools off to the perfect start, scoring early doors, before Boro levelled through former Sunderland man Paddy McNair. Hugill put the hosts in front before Tyrone O’Neill and Stephen Walker rounded things off.