Captain for the night Carl Magnay said Hartlepool United were gutted not to emerge with a result from their high-profile friendly with Sunderland.
Pools looked set for a very worthy 1-1 draw with the Black Cats, only for midfielder Jeremain Lens to pluck a last-minute free-kick winner at Victoria Park.
We’re very disappointed we haven’t come away with something because the effort and application deserved itCarl Magnay
It was tough on Pools who had drawn level against Simon Grayson’s team in the second half with Ryan Donaldson’s expert finish chalking off Josh Maja’s first-half penalty.
Magnay said: “Regardless of the stage of the season, you want to win games to breed confidence or gain results.
“A game of football is a game of football to me, no mater the date or whether it’s league, cup or friendly.
“We’re very disappointed we haven’t come away with something because the effort and application deserved it.”
But the defender, who skippered the side last night, said he was happy with the 89 and a half minutes before the Lens touch of magic which beat Scott Loach from 22 yards.
“We were really pleased with the football we played,” said Magnay. “We had a game plan which we carried out.
“I think this season, particularly at home, you will see us play out a lot more from the back.
“Last night against a higher class of opponent we decided that we did not want to put ourselves under any pressure playing any tippy-tappy football outside our box.
“They kept three players up most of the time so that made it difficult to express ourselves in the way we’d like to play.
“ We played a different style of football than you might see from us this season, we had to be a bit more pragmatic.
“We were looking to work off second balls and I thought we did that brilliantly.
“In an ideal world, it might have been nice to be braver and built things up, but the game-plan was working.
“We did put them under pressure.
“But we also got the ball down and played some nice stuff at times and that shows we can do both sides of the game.”