Pools were knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy by Rotherham United at The Vic this evening.
Colin Cooper’s side pulled themselves back level after an early opener for the visitors but were unable to do the same after a fluke goal on the stroke of half time gave The Millers a 2-1 lead.
Rotherham United took the lead after just eight minutes of the game, despite another good start from Pools.
A well-taken corner from the right found Tom Eaves in space in the middle and Millers striker rose well to head past Scott Flinders and make it 1-0.
The goal failed to shake a confident Pools side who went on to play some of their best football to date this season for the remainder of the half.
With the two strikers linking neatly with Monkhouse and Franks and both Walton and Dolan getting stuck in, Cooper’s men mounted a sustained attack on the visitors’ goal.
Andy Monkhouse met a Simon Walton corner to nod goalwards only to be denied on the line, while Matty Dolan picked out James Poole with an exquisite ball over the top only for the striker to be repelled with his final shot by the keeper.
A Dolan freekick then found Baldwin with only Adam Collin to beat but the defender’s volley went over the bar.
With 23 minutes played though, Pools grabbed a leveller; great inter-play between James and Monkhouse saw the latter run through with only Collin to beat. And Monkhouse showed great composure to score past his former club with his 50th goal for Pools, squaring things up and deservedly so.
And Pools sustained their attack after the equaliser, with Monkhouse trying his luck twice from distance only to be denied by Collin. Luke James squared for the unlikely Michael Duckworth who had joined him for the push forward inside the box but the right back was denied by the defender who got in to clear.
Despite the first half being largely dominated by the team in blue and white, it was Rotherham who took the lead into the break.
Lee Frecklington sent a hopeful shot at goal from distance which took a cruel deflection off Kieran Agard that sent Flinders the wrong way and the ball into the back of the net.
Pools continued to threaten in the second half with early chances for Monkhouse and Poole but the visitors seemed more intent on spoiling in this second half and the game became more interrupted
Cooper’s men remained on top though but had a different challenge to deal with a much more physical approach from Steve Evans’ side.
And while Pools thoroughly deserved a breakthrough in this game, by the half-way mark of this second half, Rotherham still held their goal advantage.
And after plenty of pressure from Pools at the right end of the field, the game fell a little flat for a spell as the ball was passed around the middle third.
It was Cooper’s men though who raised the tempo again, pushing forward in numbers and Simon Walton went closest to drawing level again with a well-placed freekick which just scraped wide of the back post.
With the visitors working hardest to wind down the clock, Pools were left frustrated both on the pitch and in the stands this evening – particularly at the addition of only four minutes of added time.
Collin pulled off a great save to deny Neil Austin at the start of that injury time before Jack Baldwin crashed a header against the bar from substitute Jordan Richards' corner.
Antony Sweeney had a great chance to grab a last-gasp leveller after being fed by Sam Collins but the midfielder saw his volley go high over the bar.
Despite some late drama, Pools were unable to find a deserved goal in this second half and it will be Rotherham United who go into the Area Semi Final.
Full Time: Pools 1 Rotherham United 2
Att: 2911 (268 Rotherham United)
Booked: Austin (37)
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Collins, Baldwin, Austin, Franks (Richards 86), Walton, Dolan (Sweeney 80), Monkhouse, Poole (Walker 85), James
Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Burgess
Rotherham United: Collin, Brindley, Skarz (Pringle 59), Mills, Frecklington, Milsom, Tubbs (Nardiello 66), Morgan, Agard, Tidser, Eaves (Revell 68)
Subs Not Used: Shearer, Davis