Pools Youth Team slipped to a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Rotherham United on Saturday despite putting in a bright performance against The Millers.
It was an even contest in the early stages but the hosts nosed in front on 20 minutes when the Rotherham forward got in front of Jacob Owen to make it 1-0.
Connor Simpson had a great opportunity to bring Pools level just afterwards when he engineered a shooting chance but the home keeper pulled off a great save at his near post.
There was a setback midway through the first half when forward Liam Travers was forced off through injury and Pools fell further behind just before the break when a deflected shot found its way past keeper Ryan Catterick.
Pools altered their shape during the interval and that led to some good chances created in the opening period of the second half as Rotherham were pushed on to the back foot.
Cameron Holliday and Owen both struck the woodwork with efforts, Joe Jackson had a header well saved by the keeper and Niall Short spurned a glorious opportunity when he lobbed a shot just over the bar.
Despite the pressure, the game was effectively killed off on 75 minutes when the referee controversially awarded a penalty to Rotherham for a foul by Catterick – though the luckless keeper had to go off through injury sustained in the incident.
With The Millers tucking home the resultant spot-kick past substitute goalkeeper Scott Moloney it was an uphill struggle for Pools, especially when the lost a third player to injury as Jon Weirs was forced off following a bad challenge.
Jackson grabbed a goal back right on 90 minutes but it proved too little too late and it was Rotherham who collected the three points.
“Two sloppy goals given away in the first half have cost us,” admitted Hewitson afterwards.
“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb with our defending and although we offered a very strong response to going 2-0 down we couldn’t find a way back in to the game.
“If we had got a goal earlier in the second half then things could have been very different but, despite some good play, that was the only thing that was missing.”
Full Time: Rotherham United 3 Pools 1
Catterick (Moloney 75), Holliday, Cooper, Wood, Fielding, Owen, Pritchard (Short 46), Orrell, Travers (Jackson 25), Simpson, Weirs (Boyle 85).Pools: