Pools Youth Team were beaten 3-2 by Bradford City on Saturday but Ian McGuckin insisted there were plenty of positives to come from the game given the very young nature of his line-up.
With games coming thick and fast for Youth Team and Reserves, McGuckin handed a selection of Under-16s the chance to impress at the weekend as they hosted The Bantams at Welfare Park in Blackhall.
No fewer than seven Under-16s were involved in the game and they did themselves proud during an entertaining encounter which swung one way then the other.
The visitors were first to strike when Pools failed to deal with a long ball over the top and City were able to take advantage with the game’s opening goal on just eight minutes.
However, Pools responded well to the setback and got back on level terms when a brilliant delivery from a corner was met by Jacob Owen and the defender’s header found the net to make it 1-1.
It got better for McGuckin’s young charges just before the break when Bradley Fox got his name on the scoresheet with a neat right-footed finish across the keeper in to the bottom left corner of the net.
City raised their game at the start of the second half and got their reward when Pools failed to properly clear the lines and the ball was forced in to the net to make 2-2.
There was a wonderful chance for Niall Short to put Pools back in front on 84 minutes but he couldn’t keep his shot on target and the visiting side were let off the hook.
And City made Pools pay for that squandered opportunity when they nicked a winner in the closing stages to pinch all the three Youth Alliance League points.
“It was disappointing we didn’t get anything from the game because our efforts deserved something,” McGuckin commented.
“It was pleasing to see the manner of our performance given the fact we had seven Under-16s in our ranks and I was delighted with the way those young boys came in and played.
“I think we just struggled a little with the physicality of the Bradford side at times because they were bigger than us but overall I have no complaints with the lads.
“We probably just flagged a little bit and ran out of steam towards the end which led to them getting the winner but there are many more positives than negatives to take from the game.
Full Time: Pools 2 Bradford City 3
Pools: Young, Holliday, Webster, Orrell, Owen (Bayne 46), Thompson, Willoughby (Lennard 70), Rennison, Scott, Fox, Short (White 70).
Subs not used: Stephenson, Naylor.