LAST Saturday’s 2-1 win at Hartlepool FC took Richmond Town into the second round of the Wearside League Cup, a competition they very nearly won last May, losing on penalties in the final.

Richmond settled well with some neat, passing football, keeping the ball on the ground in the windy conditions.

Town took the lead when Gary Shardh’s cross found Liam Darville in the area and his header was met by brother Ben who poked the ball from two yards out.

It was just on the half-hour that Town doubled their lead, when Ben Darville took the ball to the by-line and crossed for Shardha to slot home.

On 35 minutes Lincoln sped clear of the Hartlepool defence, but with the angle tight, chose to pass rather than shoot, and Ben Darville’s effort was easily saved. But it was Lincoln’s work in the area that forced a penalty when he was brought down virtually on the penalty spot. And while Holbrook’s spot kick was on target, it was saved by the Hartlepool keeper, low to his right.

Town looked comfortable as the teams went in at half time, but the home side came out stronger in the second half and reduced the deficit on 55 minutes with a curling left foot shot from Callum Sweeney giving Richmond keeper Adam Cunningham little chance.

Shardha, Michael Gunnell and Ben Darville all came close for Richmond, but a third goal remained beyond their reach.

At the other end, Cunningham was having a busier second half, including having to reach for a high ball direct from a free-kick in the Hartlepool half. But the Richmond back three looked solid, with new signing Ben Palmer teaming up well with Jason Newall and Simon Pinkney.

Once the Hartlepool captain was sent off late on, there was never any further threat to Richmond and the club’s attention will switch to tomorrow’s North Riding Cup match against Northern League Division One side Marske United.