Chester FC Youth moved into the Second Round of the National League U19 Alliance League Cup with a 2-1 victory away at National League outfit Hartlepool United yesterday.
Goals either side of half-time from Will Goodwin and Tom Ruffer were enough for the Young Blues who survived a late Hartlepool rally towards the end of the contest.
The hosts started the brighter of the sides and Chester ‘keeper Josh Schofield was forced to make a routine save as the hosts had a string of early corners.
However, the best chance to open the scoring fell for Chester. Will Goodwin producing an outstanding save from Hartlepool’s Brad Young after Goodwin reacted first to a ball in the penalty area. Chester were now in the ascendency and it was Birthday boy Tom Ruffer who would next force Young to produce a terrific stop after his header seemed goal bound.
The ball was in the Hartlepool net soon after, only for Goodwin’s goal to be disallowed after an offside was spotted in the build-up before the striker pounced on a loose backpass.
The visitors would get what their chances deserved however just before half-time. Ruffer slid Goodwin beyond the Hartlepool defence, the forward rolling the ball underneath the goalkeeper to give Chester the lead at the interval.
That advantage was doubled within ten minutes of the restart. A counter attack saw Regan Rubin break beyond the defence, squaring for Goodwin who saw his shot saved but the onrushing Tom Ruffer would arrive to fire home the rebound to double the advantage.
Goodwin would strike the bar with a header before Molyneux saw a shot saved. Hartlepool pulled one back in the 75th minute upon breaking well from a Chester corner to create a nervy final period for the Young Blues.
Kucharski was forced to avoid danger at Chester’s backpost before Schofield was twice called upon to collect crosses as Hartlepool threw everything to force the game to a penalty shootout. The Chester defence, however, stood firm and saw out the game to seal a place in the Second Round.
Academy Head Coach Calum McIntyre said: “This is a terrific result in a competition that is really important for us.
“We obviously have some special memories in it from two years ago and I think that adds a little bit to it for the players at our club. It couldn’t have been a tougher draw. We couldn’t actually have been drawn any further away and Hartlepool are always going to be around the top end of this level of football.
“We’ve had some terrific ties in the past up here but this was one of our better displays. We were really solid, did what was required away from home and I thought the way we moved the ball when we got ourselves on it was impressive. This is one to enjoy, but not for too long as we are right back it next week in the FA Youth Cup.”
The Youth Team are next in action on Thursday 17th October with an away trip to Athersley Recreation in the final qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup. Kick off is 7.45pm.