Pools Reserves saw their Durham County Challenge Cup adventure come to an end at the semi-final stage as Dunston UTS ran out 3-1 winners at the UTS Stadium on Wednesday night.
Ian McGuckin’s young side gave as good as they got for large parts of the blood and thunder contest on Tyneside but in the end it was the Northern League outfit who booked their place in the Victoria Park Final against Consett.
The hosts almost got off to the perfect start when Pools failed to deal with a long free-kick in to the penalty area and Scott Heslop was able to fire an effort just wide of the post.
Ryan Catterick made a smart save not long afterwards as Pools were forced on to the back foot by Dunston who looked keen to make a quick start.
However, on 18 minutes it was McGuckin’s men who nicked the first goal when Josh Hawkes’ corner from the left was only partially cleared and, when Liam Travers poked it back in to the box, Josh Bayne was there to fire home.
Catterick had to be alert to prevent Dunston levelling almost immediately, while the keeper was also alert to dash out and smother at the feet of Heslop after brilliant work from defender Michael Hall to set the forward away on goal.
Pools were relying on the counter-attack and almost profited from it when they broke effectively through Hawkes who laid the ball out left to Munns but his shot was held by keeper Niall Harrison.
Dunston pulled level with half an hour played when a long ball towards the edge of the area caught Pools out, Catterick tried to force it clear but it landed kindly for Mark Fitzpatrick and he rolled it in to the net for 1-1.
The second half was only two minutes old when the home side got themselves in front for the first time; Liam Thear did well to bundle his way through and then forced his shot beyond the despairing Catterick.
Pools pressed on looking for an levelling goal and had some good possession but Dunston looked a threat on the break and almost made it 3-1 when Michael Pearson drove an effort just wide from the edge of the area.
Dunston did add a third goal on 65 minutes when Thear did well to ride a challenge on the edge of the box and then unselfishly fed the ball across to Fitzpatrick who had an easy task to fire it past Catterick for 3-1.
It could have got even better for the hosts when substitute Jake Stafford got away down the right but, when he cut the ball back across the area, the shot from Pearson was tame and easily held by Catterick.
Full Time: Dunston UTS 3 Pools Reserves 1
Dunston UTS: Harrison, Elliott, Halliday, Pearson, Pollock, Hall, L Thear (Stafford 70), Burrell, Fitzpatrick (Capewell 90), Heslop (Faiola 80), Martin.
Subs not used: Grant, K Thear.
Pools: Catterick, Boyle, Owen, Bayne, Holliday, Orrell, Hawkes (Robinson 46), Weirs, Short (Pritchard 83), Munns (Jackson 46), Travers.
Subs not used: Stephenson, Miller.
Booked: Hawkes (30)