Carl Magnay and captain Billy Paynter remain on course for a first team return despite missing the reserve’s defeat at Notts County.
Both Magnay and Paynter, who have had long spells out the Hartlepool United side, were penciled in to play for the second string.
But neither were risked for the Final Third Development League fixture as Pools instead went with a youthful line-up for the 3-0 defeat - which included two comical own goals.
Paynter made his first appearance since recovering from an Achilles problem when he played – and scored – in the 4-0 win for the second string against Rotherham United last Wednesday.
But the club captain, who took part in the warm-up at Cambridge United at the weekend, didn’t feature at Meadow Lane.
Magnay, meanwhile, has not laced up his boots since the 2-0 FA Cup second-round replay victory over Salford last month, when he limped off with groin trouble.
I think there is a chance some of the younger lads were over-awed by playing at a big stadium like Meadow Lane and against good opposition so it was a tough afternoon.John Hewitson
John Hewitson and Ian McGuckin led the youthful side that included Dan Jones, Josh Nearney, Ebby Nelson-Addy, Kudus Oyenuga and Connor Smith.
There was also a second chance for Sheffield United duo Julian Banton and Jamie McDonagh but Pools fell behind after eight minutes.
Rhys Sharpe burst down the left to cross and when James Dawson failed to collect, the ball was bundled in to his own net by trialist Banton. It was soon 2-0 thanks to another Pools own goal.
This time Fraser Briggs put the ball into his own net following bright play by Montel Gibson down the flank.
Pools improved after the break but struggled to turn their possession into chances.
And with nine minutes left, Gibson found space to deliver a shot across Dawson and into the far corner of the net to make it 3-0.
“In the first twenty minutes we looked a little nervous and erratic which led to some mistakes,” said Hewitson.
“I think there is a chance some of the younger lads were over-awed by playing at a big stadium like Meadow Lane and against good opposition so it was a tough afternoon.”
Pools: Dawson, Richardson, Nearney, Banton, Jones, Blackford, Briggs, McDonagh (Travers 46), Oyenuga, Nelson-Addy, Smith.
Subs not used: Elliott, Male, Wood, Fielding.