Hartlepool 1 Newcastle 5
Newcastle 5 (Shola 3, Marveaux 4 & 12pen, Vuckic 53, Obertan 85)
Hartlepool had proved to be no mugs in pre-season but were blown away 5-1 by a strong Newcastle line-up which was still missing the likes of Tiote, Ba, Coloccini, Cabaye, Krul and Cisse.
Pools had beaten the Mackems and gained creditable draws with Hull and Boro but were no match for an impressive United.
The five goals matched the total in the previous six friendlies.
After only three minutes Newcastle were ahead when Romain Amalfitano crossed from the right after a swift counter-attack, with Shola tapping in from a few yards out.
Hartlepool then survived a Gosling strike ruled out for offside, only for Shola to then win a penalty and ultimately United’s third goal with only twelve minutes on the clock. Surprising to see captain for the night Shola stepping aside for Marveaux to hit his second from the spot.
On the goals front, Newcastle had to wait until the second period for their fourth and it came following the welcome introduction of Ben Arfa. Only minutes after taking to the pitch he’d seen a close range effort blocked but was involved in the fourth as his threaded pass was deflected into the path of Vuckic who provided a clever finish.
Sweeney pulled one back for Pools but Obertan provided the final blow as he struck from the edge of the box, continuing his willingness in recent friendlies to shoot on sight, no doubt under orders to do so.
Newcastle fans (2,503) made up just over half the crowd and were rewarded with not only an excellent team performance but the reassurance of not only Ben Arfa showing for the first time this pre-season but also creating one via a deflecttion and almost scoring himself.
Bit of a worry to see Shola hobble off before half-time and hopefully the absence of Cabaye is not something to be worrying about.
Hartlepool United: Scott Flinders, Neil Austin, Jack Baldwin, Peter Hartley, Evan Horwood (Darren Holden 46), Jonathan Franks (Ben Wignall 87), Simon Walton (Paul Murray 67), Antony Sweeney, Andy Monkhouse (Nathan Luscombe 75), Luke James (James Poole 75), Steve Howard
Newcastle United: Harper (Alnwick 84), Simpson (Good 73), Steven Taylor (Ben Arfa 46), Williamson, Tavernier, Perch (Ryan Taylor 73), Bigirimana, Amalfitano (Santon 84), Gosling, Marveaux (Obertan 78), Shola (Vuckic 46)
Attendance: 4,802 (2,503 Away Fans)
The following six matches have already been confirmed as televised live, with no doubt many more to follow.
Spurs (H) – Saturday 18th August but moved to 5.30pm (ESPN)
Chelsea (A) – Saturday, 25th August but also moved to a 5.30pm kick-off (ESPN)
Everton (A) – Monday 17th September 8pm (was Sat 15th Sept) (SKY)
Manchester United (H) – Sunday 7th October 4pm (was Sat 6th Oct) (SKY)
Mackems (A) – Sunday 21st October 1.30pm (was Sat 20th Oct) (SKY)
Liverpool (A) – Sunday 4th November 4pm (was Sat 3rd Nov) (SKY)
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