Chester FC’s Under 19’s advanced in the newly created National League Academy Cup with a comfortable win at the Deva Stadium.
A strong Blues side were in control of large parts of this game, and eased home despite a late consolation for the Pools.
The visitors started brightly in this Round One tie, with Keaton Sturdy turning on the edge of the box and flashing a shot just wide of Josh Schofield’s post.
But, just after the 15 minute mark, this tie came to life and Calum McIntyre’s side hit the front. It started when George Macready, up for a corner, lashed a shot against the foot of the post. The Blues sustained the attack and Harry Molyneux’s pinpoint cross was bravely headed home by centre back Harrison Burke – outjumping goalkeeper Grant Lowerson to score.
It was a scrappy affair played in very difficult conditions – similar to the first team game Saturday at the Deva – but the youngsters did conjure up more chances before the half ended. Firstly, Regan Rubin slid through Captain Cain Noble – who sidefooted wide when one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Rubin then almost had a goal of his own, looping a header on to the roof of the net after a slick passing move.
With the wind picking up and the ball swirling around the night sky, chances were few as both sides struggled to create. Pools captain Harrison Webster cut inside on 70 minutes but fired wide, the closest either side had come in the whole of the second 45.
But then two goals in three minutes put the tie to bed, as Stuart Crilly and Will Goodwin combined in stunning style.
First on 72, Crilly burst forward before squaring across the box to an unmarked Goodwin who took a touch and whipped a shot into the bottom corner.
Then Goodwin returned the favour, assisting unselfishly in a one-two with Crilly for the latter to drill a shot beyond Lowerson.
However, Ian McGuckin’s side did get one back on 78 minute as, during a scramble in the Blues area, Aaron Willoughby showed great feet to skip a couple of challenges and squeeze the ball into Schofield’s bottom corner.
Hartlepool almost got another one back in stoppage time as Adam Campbell beat the keeper, but Jake Hampson was back well to clear off the line.
The final whistle saw the Blues advance, in front of a fantastic youth crowd of 434, on a great night raising vital funds for the Academy!
CHESTER: Schofield, Hayes, Burke, Macready, Molyneux, Crilly, Cottrell, Noble, Hampson, Goodwin, Rubin (Ruffer 73).
SUBS NOT USED: Kucharski, Young, Gibson, Hughes.
SCORERS: Burke 16, Goodwin 72, Crilly 75; Willoughby 78.