Pools Youth Team were beaten in their Youth Alliance League Cup semi-final despite a battling display at Rochdale on Saturday.
It was the hosts who started the brighter and they penned Pools back in the opening stages on a boggy pitch which was difficult to play football on.
However, John Hewitson’s youngsters defended with determination in the wake of the early pressure and began to look a threat on the counter, with decent chances falling to Lewis Orrell and Connor Simpson.
The first goal arrived on the half-hour mark when Dale found space to swing in a cross from the left and it found the striker in the area to nod home and make it 1-0.
It was a big setback for Pools and they failed to recover from it, conceding a second goal four minutes later when a Rochdale midfielder drove an unstoppable long-range effort in to the top corner.
There was an excellent chance to half the deficit just before the break when Liam Travers was played through on goal but he smashed his shot agonisingly wide from eight yards.
Pools continued to press their hosts in the second period and Travers came close again when he headed Josh Hawkes’ cross just wide, while Jordan Fielding saw his header from a corner tipped over the bar.
There were huge appeals for a penalty on the hour when Hawkes appeared to have been felled inside the area but the referee waves away the Pools’ protest to let Dale off the hook.
Jon Weirs did well to engineer a chance for himself after weaving between three home defenders but the Dale keeper did excellently to save his shot.
“It was a game of two halves in lots of respects, but they took their chances and we didn’t take ours,” explained Hewitson.
“We created several really good opportunities to score and on another day we would have put them away but we didn’t and that’s part of what cost us on the day.
“The lads have been terrific during the cup run but we made a couple of errors at the back and they punished us for it.”
Full Time: Rochdale 2 Pools 0
Pools: Catterick, Holliday, Cooper, Wood, Fielding, Owen, Weirs (Short 65), Orrell, Travers, Hawkes, Simpson (Jackson 85).
Moloney, Boyle, Bayne.Subs not used: