Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor explains why he didn't celebrate Rhys Oates' play-off semi-final winner at Stockport County
It could prove to be one of Hartlepool United’s most important strikes in recent years but manager Dave Challinor didn’t really celebrate it.
Rhys Oates’ late strike at Stockport County proved to be enough to separate the sides as a resolute defensive and goalkeeping display helped Pools progress to face Torquay United at Ashton Gate next Sunday.
When asked how it sounds to be play-off finalists for the first time since 2005, Challinor replied: “It sounds great. These are games that put you through the mill emotionally in terms of where you're at.
"It's difficult to reflect so quickly after you're on such a high.”
On a goalless first half, Challinor added: “I thought we were a bit safe in the first half and once we got into the attacking half we were bang average. We needed to be more brave and I asked Jamie [Sterry] and Fergie [David Ferguson] how many balls they'd put in and they couldn't really say.
"At the start of the second Jamie has already put two in which helped us kick on.
"You felt one goal would do it and thankfully we were on the right side of it.”
As Oates’ goal found the net via the post, Challinor was busy shouting at defender Gary Liddle following a risky pass in the build-up.
“I was more concerned with the ball from Lidds that nearly got cut out but fortunately it didn’t,” he added.
“That’s not our game or what we’re about and it's the first goal I probably haven't celebrated because I was shouting at somebody else. I'm not sure how the ball ended up with Oatesy there!”
The Pools boss continued: “Systems and formations make games, I always expected it to be a tight game with the systems we played and to create an overload situation it would have required a centre-back stepping up and making good decisions.
"It was pretty obvious that one goal was going to decide the game with the way it was unfolding.
"It was a scrappy goal from nothing but a decent strike from the edge of the box but I honestly don’t care how it came about!”