The big name to sign for Hartlepool United this month was Marlon Harewood; but two younger prospects stole the show.
As Harewood made his home debut, Pool had Luke Williams and Jack Barmby in their ranks. The former last week moved from Middlesbrough, the latter also arriving on loan, coming from Manchester United.
While Harewood toiled for 70 minutes without much going for him before being replaced, the two younger prospects certainly made their mark.
Williams started and impressed in a free role behind the strikers. Comfortable on the ball, it was clear why he’s so highly rated on Teesside.
Barmby was put on as a late substitute as Pool looked for a breakthrough. He won the free-kick from which Pool took an 82nd-minute lead via Luke James, before curling a brilliant effort into the top corner to seal victory – Pool’s first of 2014 after three defeats.
Barmby’s father is better known – Nicky was an England regular. Junior Barmby has some way to go yet, but he’s shown promise in his fledging career and short time at Victoria Park.
Boss Colin Cooper said: “Jack has showed more than we thought he had and to come out of development football and have that energy and desire to impress and get out there makes you feel there are some young players out there who want to be footballers.
“The contribution he made coming on the pitch confirmed what we knew and he’s given us more than what we thought he had. Credit to him and credit to his father who was a big influence in him coming here.
“His family were watching and they came up from Hull, he is representing Manchester United, but it’s his first taste of League football and I think we all remember those days when your family is desperate to see you play for a club in front of a crowd – this was a fairly impressive introduction.’’
James’ goal – his 11th of the season – came after Barmby was chopped down by Josh Carson. Simon Walton’s free-kick was headed down by Jack Baldwin for James to fire home from 18 yards.
Barmby’s individual effort saw him curl an unstoppable shot into the top corner from the same spot James scored. York’s best chance came just before the opener, when defender Keith Lowe managed to blaze over the bar from inside the six-yard area.
Pool needed the win to stop the rot, and Cooper added: “We scored two good goals. A lot of credit goes around because York have been strong of late on a good run, not giving much away to teams. The message before the game was about staying in the game. If we win it, it might take 50, 60 minutes, in the end it was 80 minutes plus.
“I think we were the better football side and York played it into areas to make us defend. It was important to not give cheap free-kicks away and we had to block a lot.
“It was a lovely bit of quality for our first goal, a lovely cushioned header from Jack Baldwin for him.”