Pools Youth Team got their first point of the new season on the board at the weekend when they drew 2-2 with Burton Albion in an entertaining encounter at Blackhall.
Ian McGuckin’s youngsters have enjoyed a hugely positive pre-season campaign and were raring to get going in the big kick-off against their Burton counterparts.
There was massive enthusiasm from both sets of players in the early stages in a high tempo start to the game, which saw both sides create chances to open the scoring.
The frantic pace settled as time wore on and it was Burton who grabbed the first goal of the afternoon when their goalkeeper’s clearance fortuitously fell at the feet of the striker, who cut in on goal and finished neatly past Brad Young.
However, the lead lasted little over five minutes and Pools were level on the half-hour mark when Liam Pritchard’s long diagonal ball was fumbled by the Albion keeper and Brad Fox reacted quickest to fire home the rebound and make it 1-1.
After the break Pools pressed on and began to take control of the game, creating several good opportunities and looking a real threat from set-pieces – both Luca Murphy and Brook Miller saw efforts from corners cleared off the line.
The breakthrough came on 72 minutes when a lovely passing move saw the ball sent out to Pritchard on the left; he drove forward in possession, cut inside and then curled an exquisite shot in to the top right-hand corner of the net.
McGuckin’s side were galvanised by the goal and had a couple of chances to further extend their lead but could not punish their visitors.
It proved costly too because Albion snatched a leveller when the ball was thrown in to the midfielder and he was given space to cut inside and advance on goal before unleashing a superb strike from 35 yards which left Young with no chance.
There were opportunities for Pools to have got their noses back in front in the closing stages with substitute Joe Jackson seeing one effort cleared off the line and then another sent just wide of the target.
“Overall, it was a positive performance in a game which could have gone either way,” McGuckin admitted.
“I think we probably had more of the better chances in the game, particularly during the second half when I felt like we grew in stature.
“It’s frustrating that we conceded the second goal; even though it was a fantastic strike, we could probably have done more to avoid allowing their player in to that space.
“It’s the first point on the board for us though which is always good on the opening day of the season so now we move on to the weekend and our meeting with Scunthorpe.”
Full Time: Pools 2 Burton Albion 2
Pools: Young, Bayne (Naylor 40), Murphy, Miller, Webster, Rennison, Boyle, Leonard, Pritchard, Scott (Jackson 85), Fox.
Subs not used: Thomson, Roxburgh.