Newcastle United defender attends Hartlepool United's defeat to Port Vale and other moments missed including Rotherham United defender's first start

Hartlepool United’s winless run at home continued after they were narrowly beaten by Port Vale at the Suit Direct Stadium on Good Friday.

By Joe Ramage
Saturday, 16th April 2022, 1:00 pm

Pools remain without a win on home soil since February 15 and their win over Tranmere Rovers after Connor Hall converted Jake Taylor’s cross midway through the second half in front of over 5,500 spectators inside the Suit Direct Stadium.

Pools gave a solid account of themselves and things might have been different had the referee picked up on what seemed to be a handball by Aaron Martin in the first half, but it ultimately turned out to be a bad Good Friday for Graeme Lee’s side.

And here are some of the moments you might have missed from Pools’ home defeat to Port Vale.

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Lewis Cass was in attendance for Hartlepool United's game with Port Vale. Picture by FRANK REID

Former defender in attendance

Newcastle United defender Lewis Cass has described his time with Pools as perfect after he helped the club secure promotion back to the Football League.

Cass enjoyed a successful season at the Suit Direct Stadium after joining on-loan from the Magpies in October 2020 where he would go on to make 35 appearances as Pools clinched promotion back to the Football League with their dramatic penalty shootout victory over Torquay United.

Cass returned to St James’s Park in the summer before moving on-loan to Port Vale for the 2021/22 campaign.

Hartlepool United manager Graeme Lee and assistant manager Michael Nelson during the League Two match with Port Vale. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Unfortunately, the 22-year-old’s season was cut short after a training ground injury in January with the defender returning to Newcastle.

But Cass was an interested spectator at the Suit Direct Stadium on Friday as he watched his two former clubs in action.

And Cass was more than complimentary about his time with Pools.

“I always look out for Hartlepool’s results,” Cass told the club programme.

Connor Hall grabbed the only goal of the game as Port Vale claimed all three points against Hartlepool United. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

"I’ve been coming to games and I keep in touch with the lads and the staff. I saw Buster a few weeks ago and it was great to catch-up and reminisce on good memories.

“Hartlepool was a great experience, a perfect season. I obviously didn’t get to see the fans but I always felt like I had a real connection with the club. I’m from the North East so I know what the club is like.

“We had a great run, especially towards the end and what we achieved was nothing short of remarkable.

“As I said, I’ve been to a few games this season and the atmosphere has been unbelievable. I only wish I could have played in that.”

Cass added on his future: “I want to get back to football as soon as I can. I want to test myself against the best players.

“I’m 22 now and want to climb up the football pyramid in terms of the teams I play for.”

Dominyka remembered

Tributes have been pouring in throughout the week after the sudden death of former Hartlepool United Women’s goalkeeper Dominyka Podziute. The goalkeeper was a recognised face throughout the North East scene having also featured for Newcastle United as well as Seaham Coast and Chester-le-Street.

Hartlepool Women commented saying: “We are saddened to hear the news that one of our former players Dominyka Podziute has sadly passed away, our thoughts and sincere condolences are with her family at this deeply sad time.”

And before Good Friday’s meeting with Port Vale Pools acknowledged Podziute as she was recognised with a moment's applause which was shared by all four corners of the Suit Direct Stadium.

Skillf’Hull’

Jake Hull made his full debut for Pools against Port Vale and for the most part gave a solid account of himself in defence alongside the experienced Gary Liddle.

The Rotherham United defender exuded plenty of composure throughout the first half including some nice footwork perhaps more synonymous with a winger than a central defender.

Midway through the first half, the teenager found himself out wide in an advanced attacking area with Port Vale midfielder Henry Charsley threatening.

But Hull showed no signs of worry as he produced a clever drag back to evade Charsley’s challenge with skill suitable for any weekly highlight reel.

Walker’s exit

It was an indifferent afternoon for Valiant’s midfielder Brad Walker on his return to the Suit Direct Stadium.

Walker spent just over four years with Pools making over 100 appearances in the process.

But the midfielder lined up against his former side on Good Friday and twice threatened with long range efforts.

But the 26-year-old’s afternoon was brought to an abrupt end after a seemingly innocuous fall in the second half when trying to launch a counter attack for the visitors.

Walker received lengthy treatment before being carried off the field to applause from all four corners of the ground as Pools acknowledged their former midfielder.

Clarke reception

While defeat is always difficult to stomach, the scenes after the final whistle were perhaps a little easier to acknowledge with the emergence of Port Vale boss, and former Pools midfielder, Darrell Clarke onto the pitch.

Clarke has endured a difficult time personally of late resulting in his compassionate leave from Vale Park.

But the Valiant’s boss appeared on the field at full time to praise interim manager Andy Crosby and his team as they moved a step closer to promotion to League One.

Clarke represented Pools well over 100 times across six years and remains a close friend of current boss Lee who admitted it was pleasing to see Clarke back on the field at the final whistle despite the result, with Lee hoping Clarke can now go on and achieve promotion with Port Vale.