Pools Reserves were left disappointed as Sheffield United came from two goals down to claim all three points in their Central League encounter on Thursday afternoon.
Sam Collins’ men made a fantastic start to the game played at The Blades’ Academy and Rhys Oates scored twice as Pools raced in to a two-goal lead inside twenty minutes.
The first goal arrived when good work down the flank allowed Jake Orrell enough space to get a shot on goal and, when the keeper parried his effort, Oates was there to convert the rebound.
It got better for Pools not long after when Connor Smith delivered an inviting cross in to the penalty area and Oates was there to turn the ball home for 2-0.
Pools could even have extended their lead further before the break as they continued to dominate and create opportunities but things were to change dramatically in the second half.
The hosts altered their shape and began pressing high on Pools’ young players, pressuring them in to mistakes and they got back in to the game when they made it 2-1 ten minutes after the restart.
And The Blades grabbed a leveller just after the hour-mark as Pools again looked vulnerable at the back and the home side then pressed on looking for a winner.
The key moment arrived with around fifteen minutes remaining when Nat Skidmore was adjudged to have fouled his man in the area and the hosts fired home from the penalty spot to complete the turnaround.
“To be honest, that first half was some of the best football we have played all season and we could have been five or six up by half time,” Collins explained.
“But then in the second half we stopped doing all the things we’d done well in the first and the goals we conceded all came through our own mistakes when we were in possession.
“This group is all about learning and getting them to the next stage of being First Team played and there were some excellent performances today, especially the goalkeeper Ryan Catterick who was outstanding for someone of his age.
“It’s a really harsh lesson for them today but perhaps it is good for them to experience this sort of thing so they know how to deal with it and make sure they don’t make the same mistakes in the future.”
Full Time: Sheffield United 3 Pools 2
Pools: Catterick, Bailey (Richardson 70), Pollock, Wise, Turnbull, Elliott (Assenso 85), Walker, Green (Skidmore 60), Smith (Blackford 60), Orrell, Oates.
Moloney.Subs not used: