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Club News

Youth Team Reach Northern Area Final

5 February 2018

Ian McGuckin Mark Fletcher (Shutter Press)
Ian McGuckin

Pools Youth Team will meet Wigan Athletic in the Northern Area Final of the Youth Alliance Cup after thrashing Grimsby Town on Saturday afternoon.

Ian McGuckin’s men sailed past The Mariners thanks to a 5-1 triumph at Welfare Park in Blackhall at the weekend to continue their excellent form in cup competition this season.

Jon Weirs and Niall Short both hit the net twice and Lewis Orrell was also on the scoresheet as Grimsby were swept aside during a powerful performance from Pools’ youngsters.

The win sets up a Northern Area Final at Wigan Athletic later this month – with the winners of the Southern Area Final between Luton Town and Oxford United waiting in the National Final.

Pools were on the front foot from the off against Grimsby on Saturday, getting in front with just two minutes gone when brilliant wing-play from Ryan Robinson set-up Weirs to cut inside and fire a shot inside the far post.

Two minutes later it was 2-0; Robinson again played a key role to feed the ball inside to Liam Pritchard who saw his shot parried by the keeper and Short was on hand to fire home the rebound.

McGuckin’s youngsters continue to press but had to wait until five minutes before half time for further reward when Pritchard drove inside with the ball and struck a shot off the post which dropped out towards Weirs who reacted quickest to steer it in to the net for 3-0.

Grimsby enjoyed a positive start to the second half and created a couple of good chances but Pools kept them at bay and then hit them with a sucker-punch.

An effective counter-attack saw Short pick up the ball and drive towards the penalty area before letting fly with a brilliant strike in to the top corner from twenty-five yards to make it 4-0.

The Mariners pulled one back from a curling free-kick on the edge of the box but Pools had the final say when Jack Leonard’s corner was only cleared as far as Orrell who clinically stroked the ball in to the net from the edge of the box.

“The players seem to be thriving in the cup competitions where they’ve really stepped up their game,” McGuckin told us.

“It was great to be 2-0 up so early on in the game but we dominated for large periods which meant it didn’t really feel like a semi-final.

“Grimsby had a couple of spells in the game as you’d expect but we were the better side overall and to win so well was a brilliant result and to go and play at Wigan in the Final is the reward.”

Full Time: Pools 5 Grimsby Town 1

Pools: Lawrence, Murphy, Owen, Miller, Holliday, Bayne (Boyle 80), Orrell, Weirs, Robinson (Willoughby 75), Pritchard (Leonard 75), Short.
Subs not used: Young, Thompson.

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