By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
At Victoria Park
Hartlepool United 1 (Sweeney 62)
Newcastle United 5 (Ameobi 3; Marveaux 4, 12pen; Vuckic 53; Obertan 85)
Three goals inside the opening 12 minutes set Newcastle on their way to an emphatic 5-1 friendly win at Hartlepool on Tuesday night.
Sylvain Marveaux grabbed a brace for the rampant visitors, while Shola Ameobi, Haris Vuckic and Gabriel Obertan were also on target. Pools managed a brief response midway through the second half, thanks to Antony Sweeney.
Ameobi broke the deadlock when he finished off a counter-attack, before Marveaux tapped in from close range and then added United's third from the penalty spot.
That is was it for the first half, but after the break Vuckic lobbed in number four, only to see Sweeney grab a consolation for the hosts.
However, the Magpies had the last laugh through Obertan's driven finish with only five minutes remaining.
United were ahead inside the opening three minutes and it came courtesy of a stunning breakaway. Defending deep inside their own half, the visitors soon found themselves on the attack as James Tavernier drilled a ball up to the feet of Dan Gosling on the halfway line.
The midfielder took a touch before spreading it into the right channel, where Romain Amalfitano chested down and sent a low cross towards Ameobi, who supplied a simple finish from around six yards.
It was a dream start, but that got even better just 60 seconds later as Marveaux doubled the advantage.
A long ball over the top sent Ameobi racing clear down the left, and he beat the on-rushing Pools keeper Scott Flinders before sending an ambitious half-volley goalwards from a tight angle.
It ended up reaching Marveaux at the far post, and although the French winger's initial effort struck the upright, he was alert to tap home at the second time of asking.
The Magpies were threatening to run riot and had the ball in the back of the net again in the ninth minute, only to see the effort ruled out.
This time it was Gosling, breaking from his advanced midfield role to meet Amalfitano's cross and slot home, but he had strayed just offside and the assistant's flag curtailed his joy.
The visitors didn't have to wait too long for goal number three though, which arrived soon after via the penalty spot.
Ameobi again got in behind the hosts' defence and beat Flinders to the through ball, being clipped by the keeper on his way through. And Marveaux confidently stepped up from 12 yards to stroke home the resulting spot kick.
Simon Walton provided Hartlepool's first goalscoring opportunity in the 15th minute, but while his long range strike was on target it was never going to trouble United stopper Steve Harper.
Marveaux was denied a hat-trick by the leg of Flinders on 17 minutes, having been slipped into a great position by Tavernier, as the chances continued to flow.
Ameobi struck over the top from the edge of the box, while Peter Hartley almost headed past his own keeper in the 20th minute, under pressure from the big forward.
With the visitors firmly in control, the game settled down, and only a prodded Steve Howard effort and an off-target Gosling header threatened to change the scoreline.
Newcastle were dealt a blow two minutes before the break when Ameobi - who had bullied the hosts during the first period - hobbled down the tunnel, having come off worse in an innocuous challenge on the halfway line.
Ben Arfa should have added goal number four within six minutes of his introduction. Neat interplay between Amalfitano and Vuckic wide on the left created the chance for the French international, but from inside the six yard box his eventual shot was blocked.
It did come though in the 53rd minute, with substitutes Vuckic and Ben Arfa both heavily involved. The latter tried to thread a ball through the Pools defence for Amalfitano, but an interception saw it drop loose in the box.
Vuckic reacted quickest and promptly lifted a brilliantly-executed lob over Flinders and into the back of the net.
On the hour mark Marveaux was once again thrwarted in his attempts to claim the match ball, finding Flinders in his way, and the hosts went straight down the other end to get themselves on the scoresheet.
A free-kick, awarded against substitute Mehdi Abeid, was swung into the box and as United failed to clear their lines, Sweeney swept into the top corner from close range.
The Pools midfielder then tried his luck again - this time from a much tougher angle and distance - and duly lashed wildly off target, shortly before winger Jonathan Franks shot over under pressure from James Perch.
A fifth goal for the visitors almost arrived when a tame shot from Gosling took a huge deflection and looped up over Flinders, with the ball eventually landing on the roof of the net, much to the keeper's relief.
However, it was only brief respite for Hartlepool as, with time ticking away, number five did come. The ball was worked out wide to Obertan, who did the rest with a fine driven finish across the face of goal and into the far corner.
Hartlepool United (4-4-2): Scott Flinders; Neil Austin, Jack Baldwin, Peter Hartley, Evan Horwood (Darren Holden 46); Jonathan Franks (Ben Wignall 87), Simon Walton (Paul Murray 67), Antony Sweeney, Andy Monkhouse (Nathan Luscombe 75); Luke James (James Poole 75), Steve Howard
Subs not used: Ryan Tuck
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Steve Harper (Jak Alnwick 84); Danny Simpson (Curtis Good 73), Steven Taylor (Hatem Ben Arfa 46), Mike Williamson, James Tavernier; James Perch (Ryan Taylor 73), Gael Bigirimana (Mehdi Abeid 60); Sylvain Marveaux (Gabriel Obertan 79), Dan Gosling, Romain Amalfitano (Davide Santon 80); Shola Ameobi (c) (Haris Vuckic 46)
Subs not used:
Attendance: 4,802 (2,503 Newcastle)
Referee: D Webb