Pools Women’s Team were knocked out of the SSE FA Cup on Sunday despite giving a good account of themselves at Bolton Wanderers.
The Trotters play a division higher than Pools and have enjoyed an encouraging start to the new campaign so Pools boss Craig Devon knew the weekend tie was a tough assignment.
Devon opted for a change of shape for the trip to Lancashire, with the aim being to get on the front foot in the early stages and allow their gifted attacking players to cause some problems.
However, Wanderers proved a stubborn opponent and Pools struggled to break them down and also looked a little nervy in the opening period of the game.
That allowed the hosts to get on top during the first half and they went in front on 25 minutes when Jenni Duffy-Smith was adjudged to have handled in the area and the penalty was tucked away for 1-0.
Pools settled more in to the game after that and looked the more likely to score as half-time approached but a mix-up at the back allowed Wanderers another chance and they helped themselves to a second goal.
The second half saw Pools throw caution to the wind in a bid to get back in to the tie and they began to turn up the pressure on their hosts and create some real opportunities.
Caitlin Bates came close to pulling a goal back when she skilfully turned in to space on the edge of the area but the keeper got down well to produce a brilliant save.
The best chance arrived on 83 minutes when skipper Justine Robinson burst through one-on-one but again the keeper came to Bolton’s rescue to block.
It proved a crucial moment because the home side broke quickly down to the other end of the field and grabbed a third goal to kill-off the tie and book their place in the next round.
“I took the decision to change the formation which was a risk and that falls on my shoulders but it’s the FA Cup and it’s knockout football,” explained Devon afterwards.
“The first half was disappointing but the sooner we come together as a team and back each other rather than criticising then the sooner things will improve.”
Next up for the Women is their opening North East Regional Women’s Football League game on Sunday (2pm kick-off) when they make the trip to Castleford White Rose.
Full Time: Bolton Wanderers 3 Pools 0
Pools: Campbell, Bartlett, Duffy-Smith, Lambert, Smith, Robinson, Rowbotham (Carter 58), Portas (Ingram 58), Bates, Pye, Dawson (Stuart 74).
Subs not used: Hampson.