Pools Youth Team made it through to the semi-final of the Youth Alliance Cup after producing a fantastic team performance at Port Vale on Saturday.
John Hewitson’s youngster made the trip to Vale Park knowing that they would need to put in a strong display if they wanted to continue their progress in the competition.
And they set the tone in the early stages when they defended with determination against the hosts and looked dangerous on the counter-attack.
Pools went in front on the quarter-hour mark when some high pressing saw them win the ball back deep in Vale territory and Ethan Wood played in Connor Simpson to convert in to the bottom corner of the net.
Wood could even have doubled the lead after good play from Jon Weirs but the chance went begging, while Joseph Jackson also had an opportunity as Pools began to dominate.
Simpson’s hard work and tireless running up front was complemented by some excellent Pools defending, with the back line being marshalled well by Jordan Fielding and Jacob Owen.
Five minutes after the break Pools had a great chance to go 2-0 up when Brook Miller ran at the heart of Vale’s back four and was brought down in the box but the keeper saved Kenton Richardson’s penalty down to his right and the full-back could not force home the rebound.
There could have been drama right at the end when the home side almost grabbed a stoppage time leveller but a fierce shot from just outside the box hit the inside of the post and Pools scrambled the ball clear.
“It was a real team performance today,” enthused Hewitson after the game.
“The lads showed unity, hunger and discipline – we were absolutely thrilled with them.
“We’ve had some setbacks in games this season but this was one of our best performances of the season and now we can look forward to a massive occasion in the semi-final.”
Full Time: Port Vale 0 Pools 1
Pools: Catterick, Miller, Holliday, Wood, Fielding, Owen, Richardson, Orrell, Simpson, Jackson (Boyle 85), Weirs.
Moloney, Rennison, McGregor.Subs not used: