Hartlepool United Academy triumphed into the EFL Youth Alliance Cup semi final with a 5-1 home victory over Stockport County on Saturday afternoon.
Ian McGuckin made four changes to the side that defeated Rotherham United over a fortnight ago. After gaining experience with the first team, Louis Stephenson was recalled at right-back while Jake Wilkinson, Chris Lynn and under-16 Ashton Wood also featured.
Pools created a glorious chance to take the lead on two minutes. A stray ball fell into the path of Alfie Steel inside the box, who squared it to Joseph Aungiers but his shot was too high with the goal gaping.
On 10 minutes, Stockport got their first shot off as Kylan Depeiaza sprinted from the halfway line before his low effort was stopped by the leg of Wilkinson in the Pools goal.
The opener came on 15 minutes for Hartlepool. Lynn's corner dropped perfectly onto the head of a towering Campbell Darcy at the back post, whose effort left the goalkeeper rooted as it hit the back of the net.
County had a chance to level moments later following a mistake at the back, though Depeiaza was again denied by a strong Wilkinson at the front post.
Stockport were knocking on the door when a free-kick from the left was headed narrowly over the crossbar. And their equaliser came with 35 on the clock as Depeiaza's rebound was hit home by the number seven.
After a tight start to the second half, Pools regained the lead in the 55th minute. Max Storey's cross wasn't fully cleared by the visitors, allowing Joe Kitching to turn on the edge of the box before unleashing a fine finish into the bottom left corner.
And only two minutes later, it was three. Darcy, making a darting run forward, was hacked down and Lynn stepped up to smash the 30-yard free-kick past the goalkeeper in outstanding fashion.
Lynn got his second and Pools' fourth on 59 minutes. After some neat play on the right flank, the full-back picked up possession and tricked past two defenders before slotting home in front of goal.
Jack Wallace was spectacularly denied in the 75th minute, but Pools didn't have to wait much longer for their fifth. Kitching wrapped the game up with a 25-yard hit over the goalkeeper and into the net, confirming Pools' passage to the next round of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup.
Hartlepool now return to league duties on Tuesday, with a midday kick-off against Huddersfield Town U18s at Blackhall.
Pools: Wilkinson, Stephenson, Lynn, Berry, Darcy, Ingram, Aungiers, Kitching, Steel, Wood, Storey
Substitutes: Grundle, Ormerod, Burnett, Wallace