TEENAGE kicks inspired Hartlepool to their first win in 2014 but there were undertones of frustration in Nigel Worthington’s post-match post-mortem as his York City team lost for the first time since the turn of the year.
Nineteen-year-old pair Luke James and Jack Barmby sank City on the north-east coast and turned the tide of an even contest with two impressive late strikes.
The Minstermen contributed to their own downfall, however, with Josh Carson’s 82nd-minute foul, which led to James’ opening goal, proving one carelessly conceded free-kick too many for the visitors.
Just moments earlier, Keith Lowe had also blazed over an inviting net on an afternoon of few clear-cut chances for both teams with City’s engine room struggling for supremacy against a narrow, four-man home midfield.
James had the first opportunity of the game but Nick Pope was quick off his line to deny the Hartlepool striker after David McGurk had misjudged the pace of a Simon Walton through ball.
City’s on-loan Charlton shot-stopper also pushed a curling, 20-yard Andy Monkhouse effort around his right-hand post before Marlon Harewood – looking a pale imitation of the former Premier League striker who once cost Aston Villa £4 million – had the ball in the net but was correctly flagged offside.
The Minstermen’s first attempt saw Michael Coulson fire into the sidenetting from 12 yards on 20 minutes while Carson drove wide from a free-kick.
Former Northern Ireland international Carson also scuffed the visitors’ best chance of the half wide after being picked out near the penalty spot by Coulson.
Monkhouse then went close in first-half stoppage time when he drove narrowly wide after Neil Austin had tricked his way past Ben Davies on the right flank.
Within a minute of the restart, Pools ’keeper Scott Flinders was forced into his only saves of the match, keeping out Ryan Jarvis’ header from a Carson corner at his near post before also proving equal to Wes Fletcher’s follow-up effort.
Moments later, Pope smothered Luke Williams’ ten-yard shot before a long lull in action hinted at a fourth consecutive 0-0 draw between the two clubs.
But, on 76 minutes, Jonathan Franks drove over after Monkhouse had headed down a Walton corner.
Lowe then lifted his five-yard chance over the bar after Flinders had dropped Carson’s cross under pressure from Jarvis.
Shortly afterwards, Carson gave away a free-kick on the touchline and, despite Lanre Oyebanjo heading out Walton’s initial cross from the left, the former Leeds midfielder swung a second delivery on to the head of centre-back Jack Baldwin.
He, in turn, picked out James, who drilled a low shot inside Pope’s right-hand upright.
A second edge-of-the-area effort then wrapped up the points on 89 minutes.
Jack Barmby’s father, Nick, scored 84 goals for club and country during a distinguished 20-year career but few can have been finer than his son’s maiden strike just ten minutes into a promising professional debut.
The on-loan Manchester United winger received the ball from Williams and curled the ball brilliantly into a helpless Pope’s top right-hand corner.
Both McGurk and fellow centre-back John McCombe had been pressed into forward roles by that stage but there was no way back for City after the young Red Devil’s hell of a strike.
Hartlepool United 2 (James 82; Barmby 89), York City 0
Nick Pope 7
Had little chance with either goal but pulled off a couple of smart saves and dealt with crosses into his box.
Lanre Oyebanjo 6
Kept his forward surges to a minimum but rarely troubled down Hartlepool’s left flank.
Keith Lowe 7
STAR MAN – should have scored but had Harewood in his pocket prior to the ex-Premier League striker’s substitution.
David McGurk 6
Caught out on the odd occasion but generally solid and made fair share of timely interceptions and tackles.
Ben Davies 6
Dependable defensively for the most part but disappointed with some of his deliveries into the home box.
Josh Carson 6
Plenty of honest endeavour but snatched at his first-half chance and got punished for conceding 82nd-minute free-kick.
Lewis Montrose 6
His long passing was a little off radar and yellow card was inevitable after a succession of niggling fouls.
Russell Penn 6
Found it hard to get a grip on the game and often crowded out in the middle of the park.
Michael Coulson 6
Started brightly and his team’s brightest attacking outlet before the break only to fade during the second period.
Ryan Bowman 6
Contained by Hartlepool’s defenders before exiting the action due to injury just before the half-hour mark.
Wes Fletcher 6
Never really hurt Hartlepool down the sides as he is capable of doing.
Subs: Ryan Jarvis 6 – combative (for Bowman, 29), John McCombe (for Jarvis, 85). Subs not used: Chris Smith, Tom Platt, Michael Ingham, Chris Dickinson, Adam Reed.
Scott Flinders, Neil Austin, Jack Baldwin, Christian Burgess, Darren Holden, Brad Walker, Simon Walton, Andy Monkhouse (Jack Barmby, 78), Luke Williams, Marlon Harewood (Jonathan Franks, 69), Luke James. Subs not used: Andy Rafferty, Sam Collins, Jack Compton, Antony Sweeney, Nialle Rodney.
Star man: Austin – filled vacant right-back spot with confidence.
Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire).
Rating: 7/10 – some of his cautions were a little over-zealous but sensible otherwise.
Booked: Walker 33, Burgess 37, Lowe 45, Carson 48, Montrose 68.
Sent off: None.
Attendance: 4,673 (956 from City).
Shots on target: Hartlepool 6, City 2.
Shots off target: Hartlepool 4, City 5.
Corners: Hartlepool 7, City 9.
Fouls conceded: Hartlepool 11, City 18.
Offsides: Hartlepool 2, City 0.