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.

Sunday, 20th June 2021, 5:05 pm

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.

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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 face Torquay United in the National League play-off final.

Hartlepool United 1 (Armstrong, 34) Torquay United LIVE: Pools win 5-4 on penalties!!

Last updated: Sunday, 20 June, 2021, 14:03

  • 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.

Atmosphere building outside the ground

Big welcome earlier for the Pools team bus

Pools fans are taking over here in Bristol

Great atmosphere here!

Team news....Pools are unchanged here

Pre-match comments from Featherstone, Challinor and Holohan

Featherstone: “From that day we got relegated, I felt I owed the club something. I wanted to stay and try and get us back.”

Holohan: “I’ve always looked at the play-off system over here and thought I wanted to be involved in that. I’m lucky to have come to a big club like Hartlepool, play in the play-offs and hopefully we can make some history.”

Challinor: “I’ve been at a lot of clubs but this is the biggest one that shows that the football club is the town. To return them to where everyone thinks they should be as a club would be a huge achievement.”

The atmosphere is building here

View from the Torquay camp

Gary Johnson: “I was disappointed it wasn’t at Wembley, because you feel a final should always be at Wembley.

“But my second choice would have been Bristol City. It looks like a mini-Wembley with the red seats and the shape of the stadium.”

10 minutes to kick-off and the atmosphere is incredible

Not long to go here now, 3,100 Pools fans and the same amount of Torquay fans here today.

The atmosphere is very loud, electric as the players prepare to come out. How are the nerves?

Lively start, Torquay get us underway and they win an early corner.

It is cleared but the early pressure from the hosts continues. Torquay with more of the ball early on, Pools under pressure early on. Goalless 4 minutes in.

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