FOOTBALL: Two goals from Luke Armstrong on his debut proved the difference between Hartlepool United and King’s Lynn Town on Tuesday.
The Salford City striker marked his season-long move with a goal in each half as the home side caught out the Linnets to earn a 2-0 National League victory.
Lynn captain Michael Clunan admitted the step up to non-League’s top division has been a steep learning curve.
“We’re not clinical enough in their final third or ruthless enough in ours,” he said.
“It’s not through a lack of effort. The lads are giving everything and there’s a lot of hard work going in but it’s a huge step up. You can’t play with just your heart, we’ve got to be streetwise.”
The hosts could have taken a first-minute lead when David Ferguson’s cross bounced off Archie Mair’s crossbar.
Gavan Holohan’s drive into the Lynn box after 21 minutes created the opening for Armstrong to open the scoring. His first effort was well saved by Mair but he was first to react to stab the ball home.
Adam Marriott was denied just before the break in a half of slim pickings for the re-united strike pairing of Marriott and Michael Gash.
Six minutes into the second half Hartlepool went two up when Lewis Cass crossed and Armstrong stuck out a foot to poke the ball past Mair.
Manager Ian Culverhouse sent on all three substitutes to try to find a way back, with Jamar Loza, Kairo Mitchell and Simon Power entering the fray.
It almost paid off after 65 minutes when Loza ran on to a loose ball and squared the ball for Marriott in front of a gaping goal. However, the sharp-shooter’s radar was off and he sent the ball wide of the target and with it any chance of consolation from their long trip to the Durham coast.
Saturday’s scheduled trip to Altrincham was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Tomorrow the Linnets welcome league leaders Torquay United as well as fans to The Walks for the first time this season.