Niko Muir scored twice and Luke Williams made his comeback
from injury as Pools defeated Shildon 4-2 in the Durham County Challenge Cup at
Front man Muir showed a ruthless edge inside the area to
strike twice, while Coleby Shepherd and Gavan Holohan also found the net asPools knocked out holders Shildon.
The icing on the cake was the return of midfield man Williams,
who played the last 25 minutes of the First Round tie after recovering fromsurgery on his knee.
Antony Sweeney had opted to name a strong squad for the game at Shildon, giving several First Team players the chance to get minutes under their belts against The Railwaymen.
Luke James almost put Pools in front on 15 minutes when he
was slipped through by Muir but home keeper Shaun Newbrook was out quickly to
save with his feet, while Jason Kennedy fired just over moments later followingsome good football from Sweeney's side.
The goal arrived on 21 minutes when another lovely touch by Muir freed young midfielder Shepherd in to the area and he jinked around a few desperate challenges before slotting a cool finish beneath Newbrook and in to the net.
Shildon came out firing at the start of the second half and
Daniel Craggs came mightily close to bringing them level with a thunderous drivefrom thirty yards which fizzed just wide of Brad Young's upright.
However, Craggs didn't have to wait long to find the net when he took charge of a direct free-kick twenty yards out and planted a sweet shot in to the bottom left-hand corner to make it 1-1 on 53 minutes.
The equaliser served only to anger Pools though and they
were back in front on the hour-mark when Holohan took matters in to his own hands
with a driving run to the right of the area and a drilled finish across thekeeper.
And it was 3-1 just two minutes later when another sweeping
move down the right sent James away in to the box and his intelligent ballacross found Muir who produced a smart turn and emphatic finish for 3-1.
Kenton Richardson was close to scoring when his looping
cross from the right deceived Newbrook and came back off the bar, while at the
other end Billy Greulich-Smith rattled the woodwork after a brilliant run from JordanLavery.
Muir doubled his tally ten minutes from time with a beautiful
backheel flick finish after positive play from Shepherd on the right had openedup the home defence once again.
To their credit, the hosts rallied in the closing stages and
they pulled a goal back when former Pools striker Greulich-Smith planted aheader in to the net from a left-wing corner.
Young Pools substitute Joe Grey forced a good save from Newbrook
in the closing stages before Brad Young denied Greulich-Smith a second at the otherend with a fine save right at the death.
Full Time: Shildon 2 Pools 4
Pools: Young, Richardson, Miller, Cunningham, Webster, Bale, Kennedy (Campbell 79), James (Grey 72), Holohan (Williams 66), Shepherd, Muir.
Subs not used: Leonard, Willoughby.