Pools booked their place in Round Three of the Durham County Challenge Cup on Wednesday night after seeing off Ryton & Crawcrook Albion at The Super 6 Stadium.
It was a competitive affair once it got going but goals from Marcus Dinanga, James Butler and Tyrone O’Neill made further progress in the competition at the expense of the Northern League Division 2 outfit.
A squad of Youth Team players was complemented by a handful of seniors, Butler, Dinanga and O’Neill all starting alongside Ryan Catterick and Conor Newton for the tie against Albion.
A scrappy start to the game was punctuated with few clear-cut chances, a Conor Newton free-kick which was parried by Ryton keeper Stefan Holden was the most the first 15 minutes had to offer.
It took Pools until the 26th minute to really get in to their stride when Marcus Dinanga turned neatly just inside the area and fired just wide, before Jack Leonard came closer still with a curling effort which grazed the post.
The pressure paid off just before the half-hour mark though when Dinanga got across his man at the front post and turned a low left-wing delivery past Holden to make it 1-0 to Pools.
Pools remained in control for the remainder of the first half without seriously threatening to add to their tally though Dinanga had an opening right on the whistle but blasted over from twenty yards.
Some wonderful football from Pools set-up the first opportunity of the first half when the ball went in to O’Neill on the right edge of the area and he cleverly nodded it round the corner for the run of Newton but the midfielder’s how lacked venom and was held by keeper Holden.
It proved a pivotal moment because Ryton quickly broke down to the other end of the pitch and won a right-wing corner which was sent in to the middle and met by centre-back Liam Barker and his powerful header flew in to the net from close-range to make it 1-1.
Parity lasted only a couple of minutes though because Pools were back in front just after the hour-mark when Coleby Shepherd’s teasing right-wing corner was nodded down an in to the corner of the net by Butler.
James Hepple tried to respond for the hosts with a long-range effort which drew a routine save from Caterrick, while at the other end Daniel Boyle and Jack Leonard both tested Holden with firm shots.
But the visiting keeper had little chance on 69 minutes when O’Neill let fly with a powerful drive from twenty yards which flew past Holden and in to the top right corner of the net to make it 3-1 to Pools.
Albion kept on going in search of a route back in to the game and came close to pulling one back when a deflected shot from substitute Liam Anderson looped over Catterick but just wide of the post.
However, Pools were comfortable for the most part and secured their progress to the next stage of the competition in which they were they semi-finalists last season.
Full Time: Pools 3 Ryton & Crawcrook Albion 1
Pools: Catterick, Rennison, Webster, Newton (Naylor 76), Butler, Miller, Dinanga, Boyle, O’Neill (Scott 76), Leonard (Willoughby 82), Shepherd.
Subs not used: Young.
Ryton & Crawcrook Albion: Holden, Below, Moody, Turnbull, Barker, Hodges (Anderson 62), Norris (Hepple 40), Davis, Jasper, Luke (Stephenson 79), Dunn.
Subs not used: Screawn, Hampson-Broadhead.