Positives for Hartlepool Utd in 4-1 win at Spennymoor Town

Jonathan Franks scores Hartlepool United's fourth goal against Spennymoor last night. Picture by Tom Collins.
Jonathan Franks scores Hartlepool United's fourth goal against Spennymoor last night. Picture by Tom Collins.

HIS eagerness to impress was admirable and he caused Spennymoor problems.

But how long Michael Woods will prolong his stay at Hartlepool United for is a discussion that Colin Cooper will have in the coming days.

The attacking midfielder, suffering with a groin injury the past fortnight, would have left a smile on Cooper’s face who watched the Pools XI beat their hosts 4-1 from the stands.

The former Chelsea trainee showed good movement, pace, good link-up play and dropped deep from his number 10 role often to collect possession.

His keenness to earn another shot at league football, though, meant that he occasionally went missing and he tired as the game wore on.

But why be picky when Pools crave a player of Woods’ ilk.

A short-term contract, one of which was afforded to Nialle Rodney last season, is as feasible as it would be smart.

Cooper wouldn’t go far wrong extending the 24-year-old’s stay.

The gaffer wouldn’t go wrong giving Lewis Hawkins a stab at first-team football, too.

The 20-year-old controlled the game against the Evo-Stik Division One North-outfit.

He reclaimed possession, brought others into the fray and his forward thinking had a youthful energy to it that brought about chances.

Chances that mostly fell to Jonathan Franks who grabbed himself a brace.

The winger was selected to lead the line, Woods in behind and the duo flanked by the lively Connor Smith and the not-so-lively trialist Cameron Park.

Park, on this showing at least, will not be extending his Vic stay.

He had the first opportunity, though. Hawkins played a one-two with the former Middlesbrough player who stung the palms of Kyle Hayes with a rasping shot from outside the area.

Josh Rowbotham and Dan Jones both tried their fortune before Hawkins broke the deadlock on the 20-minute mark.

Escaping the Moors defence that contained ex-Poolies Joe Tait and Paul Johnson, Franks tried to run the ball around Hayes before hesitating as the Spenny backline retreated.

He subsequently squared to Hawkins who danced past two and stroked the ball into the net.

Michael Roberts met Gavin Cogdon’s delicate chip but the Spenny striker’s header landed on the roof of Pools’ young stopper Jonathan Barber’s net.

Smith, having just spurned a close-range effort, closed down Kallum Griffith’s clearance and ran towards goal but his eventual shot was hooked away on the line by Tait.

The next attack eventuated in the second goal. Franks stumbled over Tait’s boot and from the resultant penalty Jordan Richards scored.

What looked like being a convincing win for Pools was then not so certain.

Rowbotham was alleged to have pulled Cogdon’s shirt just minutes into the second half and Dan Taylor thumped the ensuing penalty into the roof of the net.

Spenny briefly got on top, Graydon testing Barber, but normality was soon resumed.

Franks, Kieran Green and Smith all had chances, the latter hitting across the face of goal, before Franks miscued from 18 yards after Woods dissected the defence after clever play between himself, Smith and Franks.

For all the chances that he had squandered, Franks was a due goal and he got it ten minutes from time.

Hawkins dinked the ball to Franks who paused but then curled a low shot beyond Hayes.

Seconds after the restart he doubled his tally, shooting from the right of the box.

He probed for a hat-trick but the closest the match came to a sixth goal was through John McReady who smacked the underside of the bar and Antony Peacock’s rebound header didn’t troubled Barber.

Spennymoor: Hayes, Griffiths (Graydon, 46), Tait, Johnson, McAndrew (Kenney, 82); Trialist (Jones, 60), Henry (Stephenson, 30), Dodds (Trialist, 74); Taylor, Roberts (Peacock, 46), Cogdon (McReady, 69)

Pools: Barber, Richards, Rowbotham, Nearney, Jones; Green, M. Woods, Hawkins, Smith (Mitchinson, 69); Franks, Park

Subs not used: Turnbull, Armstrong, C. Wood, Carr, Blackford, Dawson.