Pools Youth Team battled for a point when they hosted high-flying Oldham Athletic at Blackhall’s Welfare Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Latics were sitting second in the Youth Alliance League table prior to kick-off and are gunning for the title so Pools knew they were going to be up against it in the fixture.
However, they showed strong defensive resilience to keep a first clean sheet this calendar year to pick up a creditable point from a 0-0 draw, which could easily have been turned in to a win.
Pools began the encounter on the front foot and looked a threat in wide areas through Cameron Holliday and Ryan Robinson who created half-chances for Liam Travers and Josh Simpson which were both spurned.
John Hewitson’s men were thankful to keeper Ryan Catterick towards the end of the first half when he produced a brilliant penalty save after Jack Cooper had brought down an Oldham attacker in the box.
Robinson got through an hour on his return from a year out injured and his replacement, Under-16 star Daniel Boyle, almost broke the deadlock but his shot cannoned back off the cross bar, while Lewis Orrell saw his free-kick cleared off the line.
Jon Weirs missed a great chance after being slipped through by Simpson before Oldham were reduced to ten men on 80 minutes when their defender scythed down Joe Jackson as the Pools man charged clear on goal.
There was one final chance for Pools to win it when Travers got up highest to meet Weirs’ corner but his header went just too high and the points were shared.
“It was a thoroughly deserved clean sheet and that was one of the real positives from the day,” explained Hewitson afterwards.
“It was great to see Ryan Robinson back out there after a long absence through injury and we were also able to give further game time to Under-16s Joe Jackson and Daniel Boyle.
“The team seemed to have a good balance about it and, even though we had to be strong and switched on at the back, we could easily have won the game given the chances we created.”
Full Time: Pools 0 Oldham Athletic 0
Pools: Catterick (Moloney 46), Holliday, Cooper, Orrell, Fielding, Owen, Robinson (Boyle 60), Weis, Travers, Jackson, Simpson.
Subs not used: Bayne, White.