Richie Kyle was glad just to ‘get through’ to the semi-finals of the Youth Alliance Cup’s Northern Section at Morecambe on Saturday.
The youth team had to battle with wind, rain and a boggy pitch to come from behind and level to 1-1 at Morecambe and Lancaster College - before beating The Shrimps 4-2 on penalties.
Pool looked to be heading out of the competition after Tom Woods had fired Morecambe ahead in the second-half, although Joe Moulden headed home an equaliser before goalkeeper Daniel Milton saved twice in the shootout.
It left a freezing-cold Kyle, the youth team’s Head of Coaching, delighted with the character which has carried them through so many games this season.
“I was just happy to get through that game,” said Kyle. “The lads showed great character to come from behind, although we know from the past they don’t let their heads go down.
“We came back against Burnley from two goals behind in one of the previous rounds, so we knew we could win on penalties as we did that day.
“We were the much better team against Morecambe as well, and we know we’ve got enough quality to come through games like that.”
“They will have wanted revenge after we scored seven past them in the league and, in football, any time you win convincingly against a team, it doesn’t usually repeat itself the second time.”
Kyle rested a couple of regulars from the start against Morecambe, with George Lomax, Henry Cameron and goalkeeper Connor Hunt all beginning on the bench.
It allowed an opportunity for others to stake their claim, with Milton also making his first competitive appearance in goal for Pool after finally receiving international clearance.
“Dan (Milton) has been training very hard and he’s a good young goalkeeper, so it was good he got his chance,” said Kyle.
“We rested a few players, like Harrison (McGahey), who will back training with us in the week.”
One player who has impressed Kyle in training is Moulden, with the defending scoring the equaliser at Morecambe when leaning back inside the box before looping his header over the Shrimps’ keeper.
“I thought Joe (Moulden)’s header was going over,” Kyle said. “He’s scored a couple of great headers in training which I picked up on, and he did well to get that much dip on the one against Morecambe.”
The win leaves Pool with just one more fixture before the Christmas break – an FA Youth Cup Third Round clash with Premier League Liverpool at Bloomfield Road on Wednesday.
And Kyle says there is no pressure his side as the young Seasiders prepare for their toughest challenge of the season so far.
“I want the lads to go out and enjoy it on Wednesday,” said Kyle. “Nobody will be expecting us to win, and the result will have no effect on the rest of our season.
“We have a chance because we’ve shown we’re hard to beat, and Accrington Stanley knocked out West Ham United’s youth side recently which shows anything is possible.”