Harrogate Town did themselves proud with a scintillating display in front of the BT cameras, as they beat Hartlepool United at the CNG Stadium.
Unchanged Town were quickly out of the traps and they took the lead after only four minutes, when Pools couldn’t clear the ball after Thomson’s run into the box and Lloyd Kerry shot home via Scott Loach’s legs.
Next, Mark Beck broke broke clear and found Jack Muldoon whose effort was cleared only as far as Josh Falkingham who skimmed the upright with a shot from distance.
Pools, who were fielding three new players, were finding it hard to get into the game, and it took them almost fifteen minutes to threaten, when Luke Molyneaux’s corner was easily caught by James Belshaw.
However, on twenty minutes Town had a golden chance to stretch their lead when Beck had his shirt pulled in the area and Referee Marc Edwards pointed to the spot.Thomson took the penalty, but Loach made a superb save to turn the ball round his right post.
Although Town were dominating play, Pools almost struck back when Jake Cassidy crossed from the left and Belshaw had to pull out a fine save to keep out Nicke Kabamba’s near post header.
Beck headed at Loach and and Thomson shot wide as Town sought to turn their superiority into goals, but a Liam Kitching foul on Kabamba enabled Molyneaux to whip in a dangerous free kick which Michael Raynes headed over the bar.
Jack Emmett, who was having a fine game, brought the half to an end when he cut inside from the left and drove a shot into the midriff of Loach.
However, for all their territorial dominance, Town only had a slender lead and it must have given the management some concern during the interval.
Early in the second half, Pools Kenton Richardson, barged down Muldoon inside the area, but the referee waved away Town’s claims for a second penalty.
But on fifty minutes Town gave themselves a two goal cushion when Loach saved Thomson’s shot with his legs and Kerry squared the rebound to Muldoon who lashed an unstoppable piledriver past Loach from the edge of the area.
But being Town, they couldn’t keep a clean sheet and Middlesbrough youngster, Mark Kitching, put in a deep cross beyond the far post and Kabamba had time to bring the ball down and shoot past Belshaw.
A clearly stung Town, almost hit back immediately when Ryan Fallowfield threaded a through ball to Muldoon and Loach did well to turn his powerful drive for a corner.
But with twentythree minutes left, Town restored their two goal advantage when Muldoon crossed from the left and centred for Beck to rise above sub, Myles Anderson, and head the ball home via the underside of the crossbar.
Pools didn’t throw in the towel and Cassidy almost reduced the arrears when he foraged down the left, but he just failed to bend his shot into the far corner.
Town threw on all three subs and a run down the right by Dom Knowles gave Michael Woods a chance to centre, but his dangerous cross found no takers.
The final action saw Thomson make a chance for Aaron Williams to get on the scoresheet but his well struck shot crashed into the side netting.
Belshaw,Fallowfield,Falkingham,Howe,Burrell,Thomson,Emmett(Knowles 81),Beck(Williams 89),Kerry,Muldoon(Woods 79),Kitching.
Unused subs,Cracknell,Leesley. Booked Beck Man of the Match Beck
Scorers Kerry 4,Muldoon 50,Beck 67.
Loach,Kitching,Raynes,Magnay(Anderson 45),Donaldson,Cassidy,Featherstone(Kioso 59),Richardson,Molyneaux,Kabamba,James(Hawkes 62).
Scorer Kabamba 57. Att.2000
By John Harrison