IT was a case of family fortune as York-born midfielder Michael Woods followed in his grandfather’s footsteps by scoring a lucky winning goal during his first-ever game at Bootham Crescent.

Saturday’s match winner was not even a twinkle in his father’s eye when, almost 55 years ago to the day, wing-half Alan Woods marked his York City debut with an intended cross to secure a 3-2 victory over Millwall.

But, the 25-year-old Woods’ 81st-minute fluke proved just as decisive for visitors Hartlepool, who snatched an ill-deserved 2-1 victory when Woods miskicked shot profited from an equally badly-timed, attempted clearance from home midfielder James Berrett before spinning into the helpless Scott Flinders’ bottom left-hand corner.

Perhaps former England under-20 international Woods – once the subject of a £5million transfer swoop that took him and fellow 16-year-old Tom Taiwo from Leeds to Chelsea – was due a good break having seen his promising career ravaged by injuries down the years.

It was cruel, though, that it came at the expense of his home-town club, whose performance had merited the minimum reward of a point and arguably all three. Earlier, Reece Thompson’s first goal in professional football on 57 minutes had given City a belated lead.

By that stage Dave Winfield had already hit the crossbar, while Vadaine Oliver and Keith Lowe also saw headers cleared off the line and over-worked Pool keeper Adam Bartlett made several saves during an entertaining first period.

Hartlepool were distinctly second best for the whole of the first hour but still carried a threat on the counter attack in the form of Rakish Bingham and the match bore all the hallmarks of two teams whose managers have put plans in place over the summer to avoid the struggles endured last season.

Journeyman forward Billy Paynter, who has made the art of goalscoring his stock trade down the years, could be an important figure in that process at Hartlepool.

His spectacular, 71st-minute equaliser against the Minstermen certainly turned this game on its head and provided the platform for the visitors to extend their winning start to the new season to a third game.

The ex-Port Vale, Swindon and Leeds striker has netted in all three.

For City, Vadaine Oliver is still looking to open his account following nine appearances, including pre-season, but he threatened from the start against Hartlepool during a towering performance that should have reaped greater rewards for himself and the team.

The former Crewe striker forced Bartlett into a second-minute, near-post save after Berrett’s cross had been nudged to him by Thompson.

After Flinders was quick off his line to deny Bingham, who had ran in behind Stephane Zubar to latch on to Scott Fenwick’s through ball, Bartlett then produced his best stop of the afternoon –low to his left - from Oliver’s downward header after David Tutonda’s excellent left-wing cross to the far post.

The ex-Gateshead keeper was in action again to get his fingertips to a Winfield header following Luke Summerfield’s free kick from the right.

Full-backs Jake Carroll and Michael Duckworth then came to Bartlett’s rescue, covering the posts to respectively clear Oliver and Lowe headers off the line from Summerfield corners.

There was brief respite for the visitors when Woods’ ten-yard shot was diverted over by a Winfield block and Bingham fired narrowly wide from 20 yards.

Winfield then went up the other end of the pitch and thudded an eight-yard shot on the turn after Oliver had won another aerial ball into the visitors’ penalty box.

On the stroke of half-time, meanwhile, Bingham escaped through the right channel again but dragged his shot across the face of goal.

With the hour mark approaching, however, the hosts forged in front after Russell Penn’s disguised pass fed the overlapping Summerfield.

Duckworth then attempted to clear his low left-wing cross but only succeeded in firing against Thompson, who gleefully saw the ball cannon past Bartlett off his knee in front of the David Longhurst Stand.

Almost immediately, Fenwick might have levelled the scores but shot straight at Flinders from 15 yards after Paynter’s pull back from the left byline.

The latter, though, was not to be denied when Bingham gave him the ball after City failed to deal with a crossfield pass by Carl Magnay from the right.

Paynter took a second to weigh up his options and then curled a terrific effort into Flinders’ top left-hand corner from 15 yards.

That then set the scene for Woods, with his grandfather – a member of the Minstermen’s 1964/65 promotion-winning squad - watching, to claim the third goal of his career in the most fortuitous of circumstances.

In the latter stages, Winfield was thrown forward as an emergency striker but the hosts could not muster a response against a buoyant Hartlepool team, who might just trouble the other end of the table this term.

Despite sitting third-bottom in the early standings, there were also signs that City can set their sights higher too.


Scott Flinders: 8 – handled confidently, showed good judgement off his line, made good save from Bingham and left helpless for goals

Keith Lowe: 7 – generally solid bar the odd miscued clearance and went close to scoring

Dave Winfield: 8 – made some important blocks and also a threat in the opposition penalty box

Stephane Zubar: 6 – troubled on a couple of occasions by Bingham’s movement and pace

Marvin McCoy: 7 – provided a regular outlet for City down the right flank although crosses could have been better

Russell Penn: 7 – combined anchoring role with probing runs forward when possible

Luke Summerfield: 8 – creative force again from dead-ball situations and in general play

James Berrett: 7 – full of energy and helped team at both ends of pitch but poor clearance for winning goal

David Tutonda: 7 – put in a great cross for Oliver and can be a real threat if he uses his pace more

STAR MAN Vadaine Oliver: 8 – won almost everything that went into the visitors’ penalty box in the air

Reece Thompson: 7 – displayed great industry and deserved the stroke of luck he received for his goal Subs: Jake Hyde (for Thompson, 76).

Subs not used: Michael Ingham, Eddie Nolan, Ben Godfrey, John McCombe, Anthony Straker, Josh Carson.

Hartlepool Hartlepool: Adam Bartlett; Michael Duckworth, Scott Harrison, Harry Worley (Matthew Bates, 8), Jake Carroll; Carl Magnay, Nicky Featherstone, Michael Woods (Brad Walker, 83); Rakish Bingham, Billy Paynter, Scott Fenwick (Rhys Oates, 62). Subs not used: Kudus Oyenuga, Dan Jones, Connor Smith, Peter Denton.

Hartlepool star man: Bingham – caused problems with his movement Referee: Seb Stockbridge. Rating: 7/10 – stayed sensible after feisty start to game.

Booked: Berrett 30, Carroll 69, Woods 72.

Attendance: 4,890 (1,834 from Hartlepool)

Shots on target: City 9, Hartlepool 4

Shots off target: City 4, Hartlepool 5

Corners: City 10, Hartlepool 3

Fouls conceded: City 11, Hartlepool 9

Offsides: City 4, Hartlepool 0