Youth Team Beaten In Cup At Chester

Aaron Willoughby, Hartlepool United

Pools Youth Team bowed out of the NLFA Cup on Monday night after being beaten 3-1 by Chester at The Deva Stadium.

Ian McGuckin’s youngsters had the better of the opening stages and caused some real problems for their hosts, Keaton Sturdy firing a shot just past the upright as they penned Chester back.

However, the opening goal went to the home side when Pools couldn’t fully clear a corner and when the ball was whipped back in to the area it was headed in to the net by Chester defender Harrison Burke.

Chances were at a premium during the remainder of a scrappy first half and Chester took their 1-0 lead in to the break.

The second half was a quite even affair and Pools began to pass the ball around well but they were struggling to find the killer pass and a clear route to goal.

Harrison Webster came forward from left-back to engineer a shot on goal but fired just wide as Pools pressed to get back on level terms.

However, the hosts then caught Pools on the break with a swift counter-attack which was finished off by Will Goodwin who knocked in to make it 2-0.

Chester then started to dominate possession and only a couple of minutes later it was 3-0 when another swift break saw them punish Pools as this time Stuart Crilly found the net.

Pools did get a goal back when Aaron Willoughby produced some neat footwork and clinical finish low past the Chester keeper twelve minutes from time to make it 3-1.

And McGuckin’s men could even have snatched another late on Adam Campbell’s shot beat the keeper but was cleared off the line by recovering defender Jake Hampson.

“We started the game really well and got on the front foot,” McGuckin told us.

“For long periods I was pleased with what I saw but we didn’t really get the end product to match our approach play which is disappointing. We need to capitalise more when we’re on top.

“There was a good crowd there and a great atmosphere for the lads to play but it’s just frustrating that we couldn’t get the result and progress in the competition.”

Full Time: Chester 3 Pools 1

Pools: Lowerson, Miller, Thompson (James 50), Pilling, Webster, Campbell, Sturdy, Gibson, Leonard, Willoughby, Grey.
Subs not used: Wilson, Naisbett.