Shildon 0 Hartlepool United 4: Luke James nets on first Pools start as Matthew Bates' men run riot

Shildon AFC's Dean Street.
Shildon AFC's Dean Street.

Returning striker Luke James marked his first Hartlepool United start with a strike in a routine win at Northern League outfit Shildon.

The frontman netted Pools' third as Matthew Bates' men ran riot in County Durham.

His effort came after Lewis Hawkins opened the scoring, followed by a goal from Jake Cassidy and was subsequently squared off by substitute Niko Muir's second in two pre-season games.

Manager Matthew Bates stuck with the system which served his side so well in the 1-1 draw against Sunderland at the weekend, but did shift personnel.

One player who was back in action was Cassidy, who missed the Black Cats game with a hamstring injury, while Ryan Catterick was also trusted between the sticks.

And Cassidy, along with James and Hawkins made an impression early on as Pools imposed themselves on their Northern League division one opposition.

It took them 26 minutes to net the first - Hawkins, playing off the front, pounced on a defensive mistake to nab the ball and lob in from 25 yards.

It was 2-0 within 60 seconds as Jake Cassidy pounced from close range to net a goal on return to the side.

And just before the break James got his first goal back in blue and white as he tapped home after a Cassidy effort was parried by Shildon keeper Shaun Newbrook.

A raft of changes on the hour mark - with just Louis Laing and Brook Miller remaining on the park from the opening 45 - did little to dampen Pools' desire to put their opposition to the sword.

Muir, fresh from his Sunderland strike, made no mistake when presented with the chance to double his pre-season tally, tucking in after a shot from triallist Dimi Gioukoudis was saved.

Pools XI: Ryan Catterick (Scott Loach 62), Kenton Richardson (Ryan Donaldson 62), Louis Laing, Andrew Davies (Brook Miller, 32), Myles Anderson (Carl Magnay 62), Peter Kioso (Mark Kitching 62), Michael Woods (Conor Newton 62), Nicky Featherstone (Liam Noble 62), Luke James (Josh Hawkes 62), Lewis Hawkins (Dimi Gioukoudis 62), Jake Cassidy (Niko Muir 62).

Goals: Hawkins 26, Cassidy 27, James 42, Muir 64