Youth Team Thrash Darlington

Joe Grey, Exeter City v Hartlepool United

Joe Grey helped himself to a hat-trick as Pools Youth Team thrashed rivals Darlington 8-0 in the NLFA Northern Division at Welfare Park on Wednesday afternoon.

The front man’s treble was at the heart of the victory but only told part of the story as Jack Leonard (2), Luke Chapman (2) and Keaton Sturdy all also found the net in a thoroughly one-side contest.

Pools dominated from the off and went in front inside fifteen minutes when Oliver James played a low ball in from the right across the edge of the six-yard area for Grey to tap home.

It should have been the cue for the floodgates to open but the visitors defended with determination and rode their luck a little as Ian McGuckin’s side struggled to find the killer second goal.

Chances came and went as Pools hit the woodwork and were denied by some good goalkeeping before they finally made it 2-0 just after the hour when Harrison Webster’s cross was clinically headed in by Chapman.

It was 3-0 not long afterwards when keeper Grant Lowerson claimed a free-kick in a crowded box before instantly despatching a clearance downfield to Grey who held on to it well before skilfully backheeling it round the corner for substitute Leonard to drill home low in to the bottom corner.

The Quakers simply had no answer to the onslaught which followed as Sturdy’s deep cross from the left picked out Chapman at the back post and his powerful header gave the keeper no chance and make it 4-0.

Grey then muscled in between goalkeeper and defender to get to a long ball forward first and walk goal number five in to the net before then turning provider with a square pass for Leonard to smash in the sixth.

It was 8-0 when Sturdy rifled an unstoppable finish in to the bottom corner from the edge of the box after more woeful defending from the Darlington backline.

And Grey then added further gloss when he get on the end of another slick move to prod in his third of the afternoon as Pools ran riot in the National League Football Academy.

“We created a heap of chances in the first half and didn’t manage to convert them which has been a bit of a theme in recent weeks – but we got there in the end,” said McGuckin afterwards.

“I said to the lads at half-time that Darlington would always be in the game at 1-0 so it was all about how quickly we could get that second goal and then secure the game beyond that.

 “Full credit to the players because they’ve managed to get a really handsome result today – and to do it against our rivals, it means all the more.”

Full Time: Pools 8 Darlington 0

Pools: Lowerson, James, Pilling, Naisbett, Webster, Campbell, Thompson, Shepherd (Leonard 67), Gibson (Sturdy 67), Chapman, Grey.
Subs not used: Young, Willoughby.