HARTLEPOOL UNITED made it 17 goals in three friendlies against Northern League opposition in the space of a week as they thumped Newton Aycliffe 7-0.

Following wins at Billingham Town and Shildon, Pools went to Moore Lane and were three-up at the break before boss Craig Hignett changed the majority of his team around after an hour.

Hignett said: “It’s very pleasing – these are warm-up games and the fashion in which we have gone through them is pleasing.

“What we are doing in training is being transferred to the pitch and that’s good because it shows we have a group of players willing to learn and listen.

“Players are getting plenty of game-time and we played one team for an hour, another for 30 minutes and we might do it the other way round on Sunday against Middlesbrough. We also play York and Sheffield United next week so the quality will go up and that’s what we want.’’

Pools had all the first-half possession, but failed to get many shots away and trouble the home keeper.

But Liam Noble opened the scoring with a 20-years shot after half an hour, then when a Noble shot was pushed out Luke James was on hand to net from close range.

The pick of Pools’ goals came right on half-time. Josh Hawkes, playing in an advanced position behind the strikers, cut inside from the left and fired a curling shot high into the top corner from 25 yards.

Two substitutes combined as Nicke Kabamba set up Gime Toure to net from close range and then Kabamaba turned in from close range to make it five.

Luke Molyneux stepped up to whip a 20-yard free-kick around and over the defensive wall to make it six and, right at the end, Toure again tapped in from inside the six-yard box.

Hignett insisted he will give Luke Williams a chance in pre-season, but is loathe to throw the attacker in too early after his missed last season with knee problems. Wililams has impressed Hignett in training, but won’t be considered for Sunday’s game with Middlesbrough.

Former captain Carl Magnay, who on Monday announced he was leaving Pools after his contract expired, is to sign for Spennymoor Town.

Pools: Young, Richardson, Raynes, Cunningham, Kitching, Featherstone, Noble, Bale, Hawkes, James, Muir.

Subs: Kioso, Mafuta, Webster, Kennedy, Holohan, Molyneux, Kabamba, Toure, Shepherd.