Pools Reserves slipped to a 2-1 defeat to league-leaders Port Vale in a highly competitive game at Victoria Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Ian McGuckin was in charge of a young Reserves outfit at The Vic and they were always going to be up against it in opposition to a Valiants side who have lost just once all season.
And Pools got off to the worst possible start when they managed to concede the opening goal after just 13 seconds when a misjudgement at the back allowed Dan Turner through to put Vale in front.
However, after being forced to defend a stream of corners and early pressure, Pools began to get a foothold in the game and on 15 minutes they pulled level when Liam Pritchard did well on the wing before squaring to Joe Jackson who finished well to make it 1-1.
The game was well-balanced after that with Pools creating some good opportunities to have gone in front, Jackson particularly spurned a great chance to double his tally when he robbed Rob Lainton but he pondered too long and the visiting keeper recovered in time.
There were less than twenty minutes left on the clock when Vale grabbed the decisive goal when Pools struggled to clear the ball from their area and Harry Middleton was able to convert from close range.
“It was an awful start but we recovered well and dominated periods of the game,” McGuckin told us.
“There was certainly a period where we were on the back foot after the goal but we did well to come back from that and we were disappointed not to go on and win the game really.
“We had a young side out but we coped well and I thought it was a good, competitive game which could have gone either way in the end.”
Full Time: Pools 1 Port Vale 2
Pools: Stephenson, Boyle, Miller, Bayne, Holliday, Robinson (Cunningham 60), Orrell, Weirs, Pritchard, Jackson, Travers (Short 75).
Sub not used: Lawrence.