HARTLEPOOL United reserve team coach Sam Collins was ‘proud’ of his young side despite them being beat 4-2 by an experienced Rotherham United team.
Young striker Jordan Jewson and Darren Holden were both on target for Pools reserves but they could not prevent the defeat at Rotherham’s Roundwood training complex.
Collins paid tribute to the character and determination of his young players after their display drew praise from Millers’ boss Steve Evans at the final whistle.
Collins said: “I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of them.
“Bearing in mind we had some very young players out there this afternoon I thought we went about it with a real confidence, character and determination.
“Okay, we’ve been done on set-pieces but I thought we were by far the better side in open play and had plenty of good chances to have scored more goals.
“We certainly could have done better for the goals but you have to bear in the mind the extra physicality they had, and overall we played some great stuff.
“It says it all when their manager and coaching staff came up to me at the end of the game and told me I should be proud of our lads’ performance, and I am proud,” he told the club’s website.
Pools began the game with four Youth Team players in their line-up, while Rotherham boasted six players who had been involved with the First Team at the weekend.
And the game began at a ferocious pace with the hosts storming in to a lead inside five minutes when Kirk Broadfoot set up John Swift to lob home the opening goal of the afternoon.
However, The Millers’ celebrations were short-lived because a tenacious Pools were back on level terms within a minute thanks to young striker Jordan Jewson who got on the end of Connor Smith’s ball across goal.
Former Leeds United striker Luciano Becchio nodded Rotherham back in front eight minutes before the break.
But again Pools responded well and Michael Duckworth set-up Darren Holden to level things at 2-2 right on the stroke of half time.
The home side came out quickly again at the start of the second half and took the lead for the third time after Pools failed to clear Ben Pringle’s corner and Jonson Clarke-Harris fired home from close range.
And The Millers rounded-off the scoring in the final minute to secure the three points when Swift crashed home his second of the day direct from a free-kick.
Pools: Provett, Rowbotham, Turnbull, Nearney, Jones, Hawkins, Duckworth (Carr 60), Green, Holden, Smith, Jewson (Armstrong 80).
Subs not used: Mitchinson, Blackford, Wood.