Story of the night: Newton Aycliffe 0-7 Hartlepool United
With 10 goals scored from their opening two friendly matches against Northern League opposition, there was a certain degree of expectation on Hartlepool United when they arrived at Newton Aycliffe.
Fresh from their 6-0 win at Shildon over the weekend, Craig Hignett’s side were full of confidence despite the miserable conditions at Moore Lane on Tuesday evening as they looked to continue their perfect start to pre-season.
Like Billingham Town and Shildon previously, four divisions separate National League Hartlepool from their Northern League Division One counterparts Newton Aycliffe.
Hignett’s key message was to Maintain that ruthlessness demonstrated in their opening two friendlies.
But the hosts seemed to have other plans in the opening stages as it took Pools 29-minutes to register their first shot on target. That shot did prove to be crucial though as Liam Noble found the top left corner from 20-yards to give the visitors the lead with his third goal in as many friendly matches.
Luke James was then in the right place at the right time to fire in from Noble’s rebound.
And in their very next attack, Josh Hawkes moved the ball onto his right foot before curling it beautifully into the top right corner of the goal from the edge of the box.
Just two minutes before half-time, Hartlepool’s ‘ruthlessness’ looked set to be questioned with just one goal from six shots on target.
But two goals from their next two efforts brought their total at the break was a respectable three goals from eight shots.
Seven shots later, Pools eventually found the net again as substitute Gime Toure placed an effort into the bottom right corner following some good work from Nicke Kabamba.
Kabamba quickly followed that up by turning in a scramble inside the Newton Aycliffe box to make it 5-0.
Just before full-time, Luke Molyneux made it six with a stunning free-kick for his fourth pre-season goal so far. Toure then netted his second from close range as the full-time whistle blew soon after.
The match then ended, seven goals from 22 shots and 17 goals and three clean sheets going into Sunday’s flagship friendly at home to Middlesbrough – not a bad start.