HARTLEPOOL United were swept away by Northampton Town in Sky Bet League Two last night.
The home side were full value for the comprehensive win and it could easily have been more as Pools endured a miserable night.
Boss Colin Cooper made just one change with Stuart Parnaby coming in for Jordan Richards at right-back.
New loan signing, Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, was named on the bench.
It all started so well for Pools when Charlie Wyke took advantage of a clinical through ball from Tommy Miller before firing low past Jordan Archer after just 46 seconds.
The pace of the game barely settled in the opening 10 minutes and it wasn’t long before Town drew level from the penalty spot.
A cross from the left found Kaid Mohamed, who was cut down by Stuart Parnaby.
It was a clear foul and Marc Richards stepped up to fire a firm shot to the left of Scott Flinders.
Chris Wilder’s Northampton then took the lead. Chris Hackett crossed from the right flank to the edge of the box and Mohamed drilled it home.
There was then a lengthy stoppage in play after to allow Wyke to receive treatment. The on-loan Middlesbrough forward was on the receiving end of a heavy blow to the back of his head and after treatment he was stretchered off.
Marlon Harewood replaced him from the bench.
With 33 minutes gone Pools had an excellent chance to pull level. Harewood backheeled to Jack Compton, who flashed a shot inches wide.
Pools were made to pay moments later. Hackett was given too much time and space on the right wing to chip a cross towards the back post where dangerman Mohamed got up above Parnaby to head in from a yard.
Town started the second half strongly. Seven minutes in, Joel Byrom tested Flinders from distance but the keeper dived to his left to make the save.
The next goal was always going to be crucial and it went to the home side in the 67th minute.
Hackett again crossed from the right. Lawson D’Ath beat Parnaby to the ball, took a touch, and finished it home.
Northampton completed the scoring in the 76th minute. A Town on the half-way line took Compton and Parnaby out of the game and the ball eventually fell to Richards, who cut inside before curling a beauty past Flinders from 25-yards.
It was a fine finish but added salt to an already-gaping Pools wound.
Northampton: Archer, Alfei, Diamond (Collins 41), Cresswell, Robertson, Hackett (Toney 73), Byrom, Watson, Mohamed, D’Ath, Richards (O’Toole 84). Subs Not Used: Carter, Tozer, Ravenhill, Snedker. Goals: Richards 12 pen, Mohamed 20, 35, D’Ath 67, Richards 76.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Parnaby (Richards 77), Bates, Harrison, Austin, Brobbel, Walker, Miller, Compton, Franks (Woods 88), Wyke (Harewood 28). Subs Not Used: Holden, Collins, Jones, Woodman. Goals: Wyke 1.
Att: 3,653 Ref: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).
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