Pools were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup after being beaten 4-2 by Chester at The Super 6 Stadium on Tuesday night.
Ian McGuckin’s men were hoping to make it through to the First Round Proper to set up another home tie with Barnsley but visitors Chester produced a powerful performance to earn victory in the North-East.
The game got off to a disastrous start when after just five minutes Chester’s Lloyd Marsh-Hughes was adjudged to have been tripped in the area by Luca Murphy and Cain Noble tucked away the resultant penalty with confidence.
Pools recovered from the early setback pretty well and slowly began to get a foothold in the game, Brad Fox curling a free-kick just too high from twenty-two yards.
There was a better chance just afterwards when Aaron Willoughby got in to space on the right flank and picked out Josh Scott with an inviting cross but the striker’s header was turned round the post by keeper Ben Gale.
Chester continued to look a threat on the break and Marsh-Hughes could have made it 2-0 after a powerful run in to the penalty area but he smashed his shot well over the bar.
The visitors almost scored a lovely goal on the counter-attack on 19 minutes when the ball made its way to Daniel Edwards on the right and his perfect cross picked out Marsh-Hughes at the back post only for the youngster to nod a header back across goal and wide.
Scott could have levelled things up nine minutes before half-time when he went through one-on-one but his dinked effort was well-read by keeper Gale who pulled-off a good save.
However, it was only a brief reprieve for Chester because Pools did find their equaliser a minute later when Daniel Boyle’s speculative effort from twenty-five yards took a big deflection off a defender and looped over Gale in to the net.
Four minutes before the break Chester recovered the lead though when the dangerous Marsh-Hughes picked out Louis Hayes on the right of the area and he took a touch before a smashing a fine finish beyond keeper Brad Young to make it 2-1.
Chester began the second half brightly and Marsh-Hughes was at the centre of it once more, this time the talented forward bundling his way in to the area before drilling a shot just too high.
And the visitors got their reward for a fast start to the second period on 56 minutes when Pools failed to fully deal with a corner from the left and it was kept alive in the area for Stuart Crilly to nod home from close range and make it 3-1.
Pools came within a whisker of grabbing a goal back midway through the second half when Liam Pritchard’s drilled cross from the right ricocheted off two Chester defenders and grazed the post on its way wide.
Chester made the most of the let-off by scoring a superb fourth goal on 69 minutes; the excellent Marsh-Hughes turned swiftly on the edge of the area before striking an unstoppable shot across Young and in to the net.
Pools pulled one back three minutes from time when Joe Jackson met a right-wing cross with a firm header which flew past the keeper and in to the net but it proved too little too late for the hosts.
Full Time: Pools 2 Chester 4
Pools: Young, Naylor, Webster, Boyle, Miller (Thompson 45), Murphy, Willoughby (Jackson 46), Rennison, Scott, Fox, Pritchard (Leonard 70).
Chester: Gale, Butterworth, Molyneux, Cottrell (Dean 77), Ruffer (Lynch 93), MacReady, Edwards, Noble, Marsh-Hughes, Crilly (Kendrick 82), Hayes.
Subs not used: Jones, Woodburn.