Story of the night: York City 2-1 Hartlepool United
After an encouraging opening four friendly matches, Hartlepool United finally got a good gauge of the level they’re at when they were beaten 2-1 at York City on Wednesday evening.
Last week, Pools went from beating Northern League side Newton Aycliffe 7-0 to losing 4-0 to Championship outfit Middlesbrough days later – a stark contrast in quality.
In York, Pools were up against a side similar in stature and, despite competing in the division below, a similar budget. Out of any of the seven pre-season friendlies, this was probably the one where the result mattered most for the 259 travelling supporters.
A mild evening in York saw Craig Hignett name another strong side with 20-year-old left-back Romoney Crichlow-Noble on trial ahead of a potential loan from Huddersfield Town.
Fellow trialist Jason Kennedy remained involved once again as he nears a permanent move.
Defender Myles Anderson returned to the matchday squad for the first time this season following treatment on his mouth injury.
United’s most recent summer signing Gus Mafuta led the side out as the game got off to a purposeful start with two good footballing sides looking to attack each other from the first whistle.
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A feisty affair soon brought the night’s first big talking point as Luke Molyneux had to be helped off the pitch after being on the receiving end of a robust Paddy McLaughlin challenge.
Moments later the visitors took the lead as Nicke Kabamba arrived at the back post to turn-in Kenton Richardson’s cross into the goal with a looping header.
Several more strong challenges from York saw the first yellow card in a Pools game this pre-season go to the Minstermen’s Steve McNulty. But that didn’t stop Hignett’s men from playing some fine football as they went in 1-0 ahead at the break.
York came out with purpose in the second half and quickly levelled things up as Dan Maguire tapped in from close range to finish a sweeping counter attack.
The hosts completed the turnaround on the 70-minute mark as Alex Kempster headed in from Kallum Griffiths’ corner.
And York were able to hold out for the victory as Pools fell to their second pre-season defeat.