Pools Youth Team saw their hopes of landing the North East Division title come to an end on Saturday as they were beaten 2-0 by Burton Albion at St George’s Park.
Ian McGuckin’s side had reignited their chances of silverware with a brilliant away win over leaders Doncaster Rovers last time out but they were unable to repeat those heroics against The Brewers.
Albion began the game really strongly and immediately began to push Pools on to the back foot and that set the tone for a dominant first half showing from the home side.
McGuckin’s youngsters looked as though they had weathered the early storm and started to look a threat themselves but Albion always remained a danger on the counter-attack.
And the hosts snatched the opening goal five minutes before half-time when a testing corner wasn’t dealt with by Pools and the Burton played nodded it in to the net for 1-0.
Pools looked a little brighter at the start of the second half and began to knock the ball around with a little more confidence and cause some problems for the hosts.
Aaron Willoughby almost made an immediate impact when he came off the bench, cutting inside from the wing to let fly only to see the Burton keeper make a great save up to his top right corner.
After that Pools began to take a few more risks and changed to a more attacking shape to try and find a way to goal but the game was up on 80 minutes when Jack Naylor fouled his man in the area and Burton made it 2-0 from the penalty spot.
“The lads are a little bit deflated but we just want to try and finish as strongly as we can in our final game now,” McGuckin explained.
“It’s just a case of picking the lads up because, all in all, it’s been a good season and we have to keep in mind that this is a very young group of players we have.
“There have been lots of positives to take but we want to finish on a high now.”
The loss leaves Pools sitting fifth in the table ahead of their final game of the season at Scunthorpe United which will now be played on Thursday 25th April (6pm kick-off).
Full Time: Burton Albion 2 Pools 0
Pools: Young, Pritchard (Rennison 65), Thompson, Miller, Webster, Naylor, Fox, Boyle, Leonard (Willoughby 55), Shepherd, Best (Chapman 65).
Subs not used: Roxburgh, Pilling.