Date: 24th July 2016 at 9:03pm
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Hartlepool’s preparations for the upcoming season continued with defeats to Sunderland (in what proved to be new England boss Sam Allardyce’s last in charge), Spennymoor and a draw at Livingston.

Sunderland came to Victoria Park on Wednesday, it wasn’t an official thing at the time by Allardyce was set to become England boss, with the Black Cats going away with a three-nil win.

Jermaine Defoe beat Trevor Carson to put Sunderland with Wahbi Khazri adding the second as he followed up a Defoe effort that hit the post with former England striker Defoe making it three in the first half, which is how it ended.

Hartlepool – Carson (Bartlett 46), Richards (Magnay 46), Nsiala (Donnelly 69), Bates (Harrison 63), Carroll (Nearney 69), Featherstone (Green 69), Deverdics (Orrell 75), Woods (Hawkins 46), Laurent (Thomas 46), Alessandra (Oates 63), Amond (Paynter 46).

Sunderland First Half – Mannone, Jones, Van Aanholt, Kaboul, Kone, Cattermole, Lens, Rodwell, Defoe, Khazri, Borini.
Sunderland Second Half – Pickford, Robson, Beadling, Ledger, Honeyman, N`Zogbia, Greenwood, Gooch, Watmore, Maja.

Craig Hignett told the Official Site that Defoe was the real difference.

‘I thought we held our own for the first ten minutes or so and were knocking the ball around alright. But then Toto made a mistake for the first goal and when you`re playing against people like Jermain Defoe they`re going to punish you, and he did – I thought he was the difference.’

Adding it was the type of pre-season match he wanted.

‘I want a pre-season game like that though; I want them to play against players like that to see the level they`re at right now and the level they need to get to. I was pleased how confident we were on the ball, especially in midfield and although there are things we need to work on, I was relatively happy on the whole.

‘It`s only the second game and you`re trying to integrate new players as well as give everyone minutes for fitness so you have that to deal with. When you`re chopping and changing like that it can be difficult but I know that among them I have an eleven that will compete this season because I`ve seen them.’

On Friday Hartlepool, a young Pools side, were beaten two-nil by Spennymoor in a match played at Billingham Town’s Evolution Arena.

James Curtis put Spennymoor ahead in the first half with Mark Anderson adding the second in the second half.

Hartlepool – Dudzinski, Nearney (Richardson 75), Pollock (Trialist A 46), Colquhoun, Martin, Walker, Elliott (Trialist C 60), Smith (Skidmore 46), Blackford, Dover, Suddock.
Subs not used: Turnbull, Trialist B.

The week ended with Hartlepool heading to Scotland to face Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Saturday.

Hartlepool were held to a goalless draw by the Scottish club with Hignett again taking a look at Liam Donnelly.

Hartlepool – Bartlett, Magnay (Harrison 46), Donnelly, Nsiala (Bates 46), Carroll (Richards 62), Featherstone (Green 70), Hawkins, Deverdics (Laurent 46), Alessandra (Woods 46), Paynter (Amond 46), Thomas (Oates 62).
Subs: Dudzinski.

Commenting on this match Hignett told the Official Site he feels we got ‘plenty of of’ the match that was ‘really competitive.’

‘I think we got plenty out of that – it was a really competitive game. We knew it would be because they`ve started their season and are probably about four or five weeks ahead of us in terms of fitness so it was a good gauge for us.

‘It was a really good workout and overall I was pleased with what I saw because we moved the ball well at times, after the first twenty minutes where I thought we looked quite leggy. The disappointing thing was the bits in the final third because we got in to some great positions but picked out the wrong pass or were bit sloppy but we`ll sharpen up on that.’

A crowd on 313 were in attendance with 104 of them travelling to follow Hartlepool.

The boss praised that following, adding.

‘It`s scary, I was gutted we didn`t get them some goals. I`m sure that what they`ve seen, they won`t go away too disappointed but we`ve still got work to do and when the season comes we`ll be ready.’

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