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Season 2003-04
Hartlepool United (a) Friendly

Friday 1st August 2003, 7.15pm

Venue: Victoria Park

A balmy night in what a Virgin Trains conductor recently christened "the picturesque seaside resort of Hartlepool"

Hartlepool United

0 - 6 Newcastle United


9 mins Bellamy beat strike partner Shearer to Speed's through pass, blasting his shot low past Williams defending the goal at the Town End 1-0

17 mins This time the front duo linked up to present Shearer with his first goal of the night, after Robert's corner had been returned by Solano for Bellamy to nod down into the path of Big Al  2-0

28 mins Griffin's cross from the right caused some hesitancy in the Pool's defence, duly punished by Shearer with a typical finish.  3-0

35 mins Shearer's hat-trick was completed when he took on Solano's through pass, rounded the keeper and knocked the ball into the unguarded net  4-0

Half time: Hartlepool United 0 Newcastle 4

47 mins
An elongated passage of possession ended with Bellamy feeding Solano at the back post for a simple finish 5-0

52 mins
More intricate passing saw Steve Caldwell slip the ball through to Bellamy on the left side of the area and his pullback was clipped home by fellow countryman Gary Speed to complete the scoring 6-0

Full time: Hartlepool United 0 Newcastle 6

We Said

John Carver (in charge tonight) said:

"We said on our return from Malaysia that it was important both sets of players got 90 minutes in these games with Hartlepool and Sheffield Wednesday.

"This game was a good work-out and a useful test for us. We knew Hartlepool would be up for it as it's a local derby after all, but the players applied themselves well and we got a very pleasing performance.

"We played some nice football and every goal had a bit of quality about it. No matter who the opposition is - if you play like that then you give yourself a chance of scoring goals.

"The most important thing for us is the Champions League qualifier, which is less than two weeks away. It's all about getting the players ready for that one.

"We're on target for where we want to be when the season starts. The Asia Cup was a great experience and from a fitness point of view I think we're ahead of where we were in the past two seasons.

"As long as we keep progressing down these lines then I think we'll be raring to go come the start of the season."

Alan Shearer commented:

"It's always nice to score a hat-trick in any game, though I'd like one at Leeds in our first league game if you offer me the chance of another one.

"We have to use games like the one at Hartlepool to get things right and to improve our fitness. We had the right attitude. We started the game well and we never took our foot off the pedal throughout.

"I tend to get my fitness in games like these and we're all getting there. We've been working hard and there have been no after-effects from playing in the Asia Cup.

"We've got a tough game on Tuesday against Bayern Munich. That will show us how far we've come so far in pre-season. But I think we're looking good and I'm looking forward to the new season."

They Said

Neale Cooper said:

"I've never seen football played like that in my life. 

"They punished us on the counter attack and you could see why they are multi-million pound players, but we played some decent stuff at times and didn't disgrace ourselves.

"It was a good test for the lads and I'm sure they will learn a few things - I'm just glad we won't be playing teams like that every week!"


While another Newcastle XI were going down in a seven goal thriller at Hillsborough, Alan Shearer helped himself to an 18-minute hat-trick as The Magpies put six past Hartlepool United at Victoria Park.

With Sir Bobby leading the troops to Sheffield, his assistant John Carver was in charge as United, resplendent in their soon-to-be-released black away strip made life difficult for their newly promoted hosts. 

Ex-Toon striker Paul Robinson got little change out of Stevie Caldwell and Jonathan Woodgate, with former Newcastle academy winger Steven Istead coming the closest to scoring with a second half effort that rattled Given's crossbar.

However, the biggest disappointment for the travelling Geordies in a 4,700 crowd was former mackem model Marco Gabbiadini sitting on the bench for the whole 90 minutes.

In common with the game at Hillsborough, Newcastle stuck to a policy of giving the selected starting line-up a full game - neither toon lineup incurred any injuries, meaning both sets of subs were unused. 

PS... on close inspection Andy Griffin was sporting a haircut every bit as savage as his tackling.

Our Sandancia correspondent


Page last updated 14 July, 2016