Hartlepool United caretaker manager Antony Sweeney pleased to secure another win in the Durham Challenge Cup against holders Shildon

Luke Williams made his comeback from injury in Wednesday night’s 4-2 Durham Challenge Cup victory over holders Shildon.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 2:37 pm
Coleby Shepherd got on the scoresheet at Shildon. Picture by Frank Reid
Coleby Shepherd got on the scoresheet at Shildon. Picture by Frank Reid

A Niko Muir brace along with goals from Gavan Holohan and youngster Coleby Shepherd saw Pools to a relatively comfortable victory at Dean Street.

A Daniel Craggs free-kick and Billy Greulich-Smith header kept Pools on their toes during the match but Antony Sweeney’s side were able to see out the win and progress to the second round.

In addition to the win, the return of Williams from knee surgery was an important boost for Pools as the 26-year-old came off the bench to play 25-minutes.

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“I was very pleased,” Sweeney said.

“The challenge cup is a brilliant competition for various reasons. It’s great for the young lads to go and play against men who are going to offer a physical side that you won’t get in under-19s.

“It’s good for the lads to get minutes in their legs in a competitive game and good to go out of our comfort zone in terms of environments and pitches, it was a heavy pitch.

“We scored four, conceded two which we’re not too happy about but I don’t want to sound too ungrateful because we’ve won another game and the football club needs a winning mentality from top to bottom.

“If we can keep building that confidence then that builds performances and positive results are a by-product of that.

“Moving forward, the side will probably be more balanced towards the young lads.

“I was conscious of the fact that we’ve had some midweek games which means training can tail off a little bit so the lads that haven’t been involved in the first team haven’t got the distance in their legs in the last couple of weeks.

“It's important they got some minutes but I didn’t want to kill them because it’s a Wednesday before a Saturday and I still want a fresh squad against Barnet because they’re a good energetic side and we’ll have to match that intensity in our performance.”

Pools will host Birtley or Tow Law Town in the second round.

Pools XI: Young, Richardson, Miller, Cunningham, Webster, Bale, Kennedy (Campbell 79), James (Grey 72), Holohan (Williams 66), Shepherd, MuirSubs not used: Leonard, Willoughby