Prudhoe YC Seniors dropped to 14th in Ebac Northern League Division Two after losing to in-form FC Hartlepool under the lights at a freezing cold Essity Park last Friday.

Goals have been in short supply for Mark McMeekin's side in nine of their 10 matches since losing top-scorer Kyle Cockburn to West Allotment Celtic in mid-September and this contest followed a similar pattern as they failed to have a single shot or header on target in the first half.

Both teams struggled to build any momentum in the first 20 minutes, repeatedly giving the ball away and there was a distinct lack of goalmouth action with the most promising attacks foiled by an offside flag.

The visitors then started to press higher up the pitch and probably couldn't believe their luck when a wayward back-pass from Will Morris gifted them the opening goal in the 23rd minute.

Philip Angus closed down Morris and centre half Finlay Baty outside the box on the right, but instead of clearing the ball into touch Morris tried to find his keeper Matty Cassap. His errant pass, nowhere near the intended target, was rolling into an empty net when centre forward Alex Hutchinson made doubly sure by nudging it over the line (0-1).

Things got even better for the visitors on 26 minutes when they scored again. Full back Connor Gales fired in a free-kick from the left which picked out Josh Daley on the edge of the box, and the midfielder guided a sublime header into the bottom corner that Cassap could do nothing about (0-2).

It was one-way traffic at this stage, and another free-kick was headed wide of the near post by centre half Luke Naylor.

On the half-hour mark, Brighton-based referee Darren Eaton played a good advantage in FC Hartlepool's favour after Kieran Russel had fouled his man near the half-way line. The resulting through ball released Angus but a well-timed sliding challenge by Jordan Plunkett rescued the hosts just as the striker was about to pull the trigger.

Angus then sent winger Joe Spalding clear down the right. He burst into the box as space opened up but over-hit an angled ball to the back post instead of backing himself by shooting.

A rare Prudhoe attack ended with Liam Dalton's cross being deflected behind but the resulting set-piece was wasted by a poor delivery.

On 36 minutes, the visitors counter-attacked at pace down the left and Spalding's square ball to the edge of the area found Hutchinson who saw his crisp, low strike palmed away by Cassap at full stretch for a corner.

A defensive mistake down the left side of the box presented the visitors with another opportunity on the stroke of half-time when Daley picked up the loose ball and fed Hutchinson who fired narrowly wide.

After a below-par display in the opening 45 minutes, the hosts showed far more intensity and commitment from the re-start.

A header from a long range free-kick was fumbled by the visitors' keeper Lewis McDonald before being gathered at the second attempt. He then punched clear a second free-kick with the return ball fired wide of the target by Dalton.

They came again down the left and winger Sam Peat's low goalbound strike on the angle was blocked by a defender in the six-yard box.

The visitors were now firmly on the back foot, with Cassap a virtual spectator in the Prudhoe goal.

Recent signing Freddie Marr replaced Morris on the hour mark and the former Newcastle Blue Star midfielder made a positive impression on his home debut.

The hosts kept pressing and deservedly pulled a goal back in the 69th minute through Sam Peat. A ball into the box ricocheted around before dropping kindly for the winger who had an effort blocked before firing the rebound into the top corner giving McDonald no chance (1-2).

After having nothing to do since the break, Cassap kept the hosts in the game with a great save on 79 minutes. A poor cross-field ball from Darren Graham inside his own half resulted in Russel being dispossessed by Spalding who immediately fed Hutchinson in the box, and the striker's close range shot was turned around the post by Cassap.

The referee's notebook filled up rapidly in the second half with a flurry of yellow cards for both teams and a second one issued to FC Hartlepool left back Olly Burrows on 84 minutes saw him take an early bath.

An additional six minutes of stoppage time brought more pressure from Prudhoe but they couldn't find an equaliser. Brad Mawston chose to pass to Plunkett when a close range first-time shot looked a better option, Graham returned a deep cross back across the six-yard box but it eluded his team-mates, and a last gasp angled drive flashed narrowly wide of the far post.

Newly promoted FC Hartlepool, who were crowned Wearside League champions last season, have won five of their last seven league games and this latest victory sees them climb up to 8th in the table.

Wallington remain top of the Northern Alliance Bay Plastics Premier Division on goal difference following a 1-1 draw with Newcastle Independent FC. A late equaliser from the penalty spot converted by Jordan Nellis was the striker's 200th goal for the club on his 230th appearance, while Haltwhistle Jubilee's scheduled home match against Killingworth FC was postponed due to a frozen pitch. Ponteland United secured a place in the last 16 of the Reeves Investment Services George Dobbins League Cup with a 5-1 away win against lower league rivals Whitley Bay Sporting Club.

Ryton & Crawcrook Albion climbed into the top half of Ebac Northern League Division Two with a dominant 6-0 win at Chester-Le-Street United. Their goals were scored by Aaron Costello (3), Richard Hoggins (2) and Lucas Hildreth.