Hartlepool United 1 Torquay United 1 LIVE: Pools are back in the Football League after stunning 5-4 penalty shoot-out win
Hartlepool United are just 90 minutes from a potential return to the Football League as they prepare to face Torquay United in the National League play-off final.
The final is taking place at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate stadium at 2pm today, with Dave Challinor’s side backed by 3,100 Pools fans who have travelled to the south west over the weekend.
Our team will keep you up-to-speed with the latest team and injury news ahead of kick-off, with rolling coverage of the game plus action, analysis and reaction to come over the course of the day.
Dom Scurr, Rich Mennear and Frank Reid are in Bristol for the Mail to bring you unrivalled coverage as Pools look to win promotion back to the Football League after four years at this level.
Pools have beaten Bromley and Stockport County to reach the final.
Scroll down for the latest developments from Ashton Gate in our live blog.
Hartlepool United 1 (Armstrong, 34) Torquay United LIVE: Pools win 5-4 on penalties!!
Last updated: Sunday, 20 June, 2021, 13:01
- Hartlepool face Torquay in the National League play-off final, kick-off is 2pm here in Bristol.
- A place in the Football League is at stake with the final played at Ashton Gate, there will be 3,100 Pools fans watching on.
- Pools: James; Ferguson, Johnson, Liddle, Odusina, Sterry; Featherstone, Shelton, Holohan; Oates, Armstrong
- Pools subs: Killip, Donaldson, Molyneux, Francis-Angol, Elliott
- Torquay: Covolan, Wynter, Cameron, Lemonheigh-Evans, Hall (c), Wright, Little, Randell, Sherring, Moxey, Lewis.
- Torquay subs: MacDonald, Buse, Andrews, Waters, Kimpioka.
Today is the day!
Good morning and welcome to our live blog as Hartlepool United prepare to face Torquay United in the National League play-off final.
Kick-off is 2pm here at Ashton Gate, Dom Scurr, Rich Mennear and Frank Reid are in Bristol for the Mail and we will bring you unrivalled coverage throughout the day.
Team news will land at 1pm.
Message from the Pools owner
Hartlepool United chairman Raj Singh is ‘quietly confident’ ahead of today’s National League promotion final against Torquay United.
Pools became only the second team after Dave Challinor’s AFC Fylde in 2019 to make the final after finishing outside the top three and having to play an eliminator round match.
Singh and Hartlepool Borough Council’s top leaders signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday to kickstart a long-term project for Victoria Park and the surrounding area.
And the Pools chairman spoke afterwards to discuss his side’s chances of making a Football League return after being relegated in 2017.
“We’re quietly confident,” he told the club website. “On our day we can beat anybody, we proved that last Sunday [at Stockport County].
“But you need the right decisions to go for you on the day and things falling for you so hopefully we’ll get that and get over the final hurdle.”
Fancy Pools today?
BT Sport presenter Jeff Brazier has had his say on Sunday’s National League promotion final at Ashton Gate (2pm kick-off).
Hartlepool United and Torquay are preparing to lock horns for a place in the Football League, but there can be only one winner.
Brazier has seen both sides on numerous occasions this season, including Torquay’s 5-0 win at Victoria Park and Pools’ 1-0 victory at Plainmoor.
And the BT Sport presenter was full of praise for Dave Challinor’s side in his Vanarama.com column.
The Pools defender made the team of the year
David Ferguson has been confirmed as Hartlepool United’s only representative in the 2020-21 National League team of the season.
The former Sunderland and York City left-back has been almost ever-present for Pools this season with one goal and 11 assists to his name to help the side claim a spot in the play-off final against Torquay United this weekend.
Team news from the Pools camp
Hartlepool United go into Sunday’s National League promotion final against Torquay United (2pm kick-off) with an almost full selection of players to choose from.
Lewis Cass and Ben Killip are both back in contention after recovering from respective hamstring and elbow injuries but manager Dave Challinor isn’t planning on making any significant changes from the 1-0 semi-final win at Stockport County last Sunday.
Youngster Joe Grey remains a ‘write off’ for the season while Aaron Cunningham’s season was also cut short after spending time on loan at Blyth Spartans.
Other than that, Pools are raring to go as they look to secure a place back in the Football League