Rob Jones' side fall short in the north-east.Hartlepool 2 (Fenwick 17’, Abby 28’)
Final Third Development League
Rob Jones will have Marko Marosi to thank for the result only being 2-0, the Slovakian made two superb saves in either half. Harry Middleton came close to pulling one back for Rovers but his effort clipped the bar on the way over, substitute Joe Pugh's effort would have taken the net off but goalkeeper Jonathan Maxted made a stunning one handed save to deny him.
Hartlepool took the lead on the 17th minute, a run down the left side by Jack Compton caused Mitchell Lund some problems, Compton pulled the ball back to the penalty spot where Scott Fenwick was situated. The striker nipped in front of Kevin Mbuti and poked the ball past the stranded Marosi.
Doncaster had a penalty appeal turned down less than a few minutes later, a ball over the top in the direction of Mbuti, he looked to be favourite for the ball but across came defender Josh Nearney who seemed to clip the heels of Mbuti but nothing was given.
It was nearly two, and it was Mbuti again who was involved but not for the right reasons. Instead of clearing the ball he left it not knowing that Hartlepool striker Marvin Morgan was behind him, it fell to the forward, but out came Marosi who made himself big to make a superb 1-on-1 save.
Then it was two, this time it was a mistake by Michael Carberry, the left back was dispossessed in his own half by Ebby Nelson-Abby. He continued to advance into Rovers half and with no-one wanting to make a challenge he decided to unleash a right-footed shot which beat Marosi.
Half Time: Hartlepool United U21's 2-0 Doncaster Rovers U21's
Doncaster started the second half considerably better than they finished the first, Jack McKay pulled the trigger from 30-yards out. Goalkeeper Maxted made a smart save down to his right side, Middleton followed up McKay's original effort but Maxted again made the save to deny Rovers getting back in the game.
It was Mitchell Lund who had the next effort, some fantastic 1-2 play between himself and Lewis Ferguson. The ball was returned to Lund who took a left footed shot which was only inches away from the top left corner.
Rovers continued to press for a goal to kick start their comeback and it nearly came through skipper Harry Middleton, he worked a bit of space for himself before unleashing a powerful effort which clipped the bar on the way over.
Hartlepool had a fantastic chance to make it three and it looked like they were going too. A curling free kick from captain Jordan Richards was nestling into the top right-corner but Marosi's left hand somehow clawed the ball out of the top corner and away from any danger.
There was another shout for a penalty with 10 minutes to go, Ferguson was bundled over at the back post but the man in black denied Rovers another stonewall penalty.
There was enough time for substitute Joe Pugh to produced a stunning effort which as soon as it left his foot looked destined for the back of the net. Goalkeeper Maxted again produced a superb one handed save.
Full Time: Hartlepool United U21's 2-0 Doncaster Rovers U21's
HUFC Starting XI: Maxted, Richards (C), Compton, Nearney (Green 54'), Parnaby, Holden, Miller, Bates, Morgan, Fenwick, Nelson-Abby.
HUFC Unused Subs: Dawson, Blackford, Jewson, Skidmore.
DRFC Starting XI: Marosi, Lund, Carberry (Greasley 67'), Head, P.McKay, Mbuti, Ferguson, Middleton (C), J.McKay, Mandeville (Pugh 62'), Parkin.
DRFC Unused Subs: McLaren, Barker, Longbottom.