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York City 1-3 Hartlepool United: Dominant Pools enjoy best display of the season to score significant win on John Askey's return

Hartlepool United secured a huge win on the road in the National League against York City. (Photo: FRANK REID)
Hartlepool United secured a huge win on the road in the National League against York City. (Photo: FRANK REID)

Jake Hastie continued his Hartlepool redemption with his third goal of the season inside the opening 10 minutes to set Pools on their way before Tom Crawford doubled the lead soon after.

Crawford fired in from the edge of the area as Askey’s side produced a stunning opening 45 minutes to put themselves into a commanding position.

And before York could muster up a big enough threat in the second half, Pools added a decisive third on the break through Nicky Featherstone who celebrated his 550th career appearance in the perfect way despite Tyler Cordner’s late consolation.

Jake Hastie scored his second goal in as many games to open the scoring for Hartlepool United against York City (Photo: FRANK REID)
Jake Hastie scored his second goal in as many games to open the scoring for Hartlepool United against York City (Photo: FRANK REID)

Irrespective of what happened at the LNER Community Stadium, Askey, or ‘Sir John’ as he is often referred to around these parts, would leave with his reputation amongst York’s supporters firmly intact, given the job he did with the Minstermen.

For Askey, however, he described the occasion as ‘strange’ before making his return to a club where he built up so many fond memories having achieved promotion to the National League last year. But despite making a solid start last season, Askey and York parted company in November, much to the chagrin of York supporters.

Football, however, has a funny way of marking such occasions as almost a year ago to the day since his exit from York, Askey returned with Hartlepool.

Askey’s popularity could be seen before the game as he took time around his technical area to acknowledge home supporters who themselves were keen to thank the Hartlepool boss for his endeavours here last year.

And yet, amid all of the furore surrounding Askey’s return, he arrived very much with a job to do as Pools’ National League campaign continued to head in the wrong direction.

Askey was without a win in five games across all competitions, with Pools having won just one of their last nine fixtures.

Injuries have played their part in that sequence, but following Askey’s shuffling of the deck in terms of his system a week ago against Ebbsfleet, the Pools boss was in desperate need of finding the right formula, regardless of who it came against.

The latest Hartlepool puzzle saw four changes with Callum Cooke and Kieran Wallace back from injury to start for the first time since September with Scottish duo Brody Paterson and Hastie handed rare starts.

Out went David Ferguson through suspension, Mitch Hancox who was ineligible to face his parent club, Terrell Agyemang who returned to Middlesbrough in the week and Chris Wreh who dropped to a bench which featured Joe Grey and Josh Umerah back from illness and injury respectively.

Relegation from the Football League seldom brought any fixture to really whet the appetite for Hartlepool supporters, aside from this one with over 1,500 making the trip to North Yorkshire to make up a crowd of over 6,000 at the LNER Community Stadium, once again demonstrating the health of the English pyramid.

But those Pools fans, who occupied one-and-a-half of the four stands, did so in hope as opposed to expectation given the recent trajectory of the club.

And yet that hope was rewarded inside the opening 10 minutes of what was a stunning first 45 minutes for Hartlepool.

Pools set their stall out in the opening minute when enjoying possession on the edge of York’s area with Wallace testing George Sykes-Kenworthy from distance.

But it was Hastie who continued his redemption arc with Hartlepool by opening the scoring.

Featherstone and Wallace did well to retain possession in midfield before Cooke clipped a clever ball around the corner of Patrick McLaughlin, with York playing a distinctly high line, and the former Rangers winger had the beating of his man to advance into the area and keep his composure by stroking the ball into the bottom corner with the confidence of somebody who is a regular starter for Pools.

Hastie’s name was serenaded by the travelling fans, something which has been few and far between since he joined the club last summer as Askey’s side turned the screw early when doubling the lead 10 minutes later.

York had actually had their first real foray into the Pools half when McLaughlin fired over on the left before Hartlepool went up the other end and found space on the angle of the penalty area with Cooke who taunted and teased the Minstermen’s backline before rolling to Crawford in the D and he took a touch to set before smashing into the bottom corner and send the away end into raptures.

Pools had performed well during the opening month of the season, in what has so far proven to be their purple patch, but this was on another level to what we had seen as they almost added a third when Crawford met Featherstone’s corner with Sykes-Kenworthy having to parry onto his post as Emmanuel Onariase couldn’t quite turn home.

An injury to York defender Will Smith brought a stoppage in play as Askey gathered his players; no doubt to heap praise on them and encourage them to continue how they had started.

Fortunately for Askey they did, as the brilliant Cooke went close following a fine exchange with Paterson on the left.

The home side then scrambled to clear a series of corners as Pools continued in the ascendancy, with York’s only real effort coming from star man Dipo Akinyemi who wildly thrashed over the bar and the away stand.

Askey’s men had York on the ropes, with Neal Ardley making all three of his changes by the time the second half kicked off.

And despite, as you’d expect, a bright start from the home side in the early stages of the restart, Pools got the third goal Askey will have been craving to help ease any anxieties.

Paterson poked a ball into the path of Cooke on the left and he scampered up the wing before rolling a ball into Featherstone who had made a clever third man run and the captain slid the ball under the keeper before wheeling away in front of a jubilant away following.

It was a goal which did wonders for Hartlepool’s confidence and enabled them to see out the remainder of the game at their own pace with York’s spirit severely dented in the process.

The Minstermen did come close to getting on the scoresheet on the hour when Akinyemi found space on the left of the area and his low cross fell the way of Callum Howe to turn goalwards only for a combination of Onariase and the post to deny the home side.

Hastie was withdrawn midway through the second half to yet more applause from the Hartlepool fans as Pools threatened a fourth in the closing stages with Kieran Burton and Cooke both going close before Cordner headed a late consolation as Askey enjoyed, arguably, his best day in charge of Hartlepool at a place where he enjoyed so many good days with York.

York City XI: Sykes-Kenworthy, Fallowfield, Cordner, McLaughlin, Akinyemi, John-Lewis © (Davies ‘45), Howe, Kennedy, Woodyard (Latty-Fairweather ‘45), Smith (Burgess ‘27), Green

Subs: Kouhyar, Watson

Hartlepool United XI: Dixon, Johnson, Onariase, Mattock, Hastie (Hastie ‘63), Featherstone ©, Wallace, Paterson (Grey ‘78), Crawford, Cooke (Umerah ‘86), Dieseruvwe

Subs: Jameson, Wreh

Referee: Paul Marsden

Attendance: 6,265 (1,502 Hartlepool)