Devante Rodney was sent off as Hartlepool United fought back to beat Billingham Synthonia 4-3 in a Durham Challenge Cup thriller tonight.
The forward, one of a number of first-team players involved in the second round tie, saw red for a bad challenge just before half-time.
But Matthew Bates’s side showed tremendous spirit to fight back three times to pull off a stunning victory.
The night got off to a bad start for Pools when Lewis Wood gave Synners an early advantage.
Pools drew level when Tomi Adeloye played a one-two with fellow first-teamer Lewis Hawkins and stroked the ball past James Dawson at the Rink End.
It all then went wrong for Pools when Rodney was sent off and soon after Wood volleyed in his second of the evening.
After the break, it was end-to-end stuff as Hawkins equalised with a low effort into the bottom corner.
The relief on the home bench was short-lived as Wood completed his hat-trick from close-range following a corner.
Pools had a mountain to climb with only 10 men, but they refused to lie down and it was 3-3 in the 57th minute when Adeloye showed he was just as good with his head, looping his effort into the net.
And two minutes later Pools grabbed the winner as Josh Hawkes beat the keeper with an expert finish.
Rodney’s ill-discipline will have irked the Pools management, but Blair Adams, Adeloye and Hawkins all got 90 minutes in the bag.
Pools: Catterick, Richardson, Bayne (Orrell 70), Owen, Adams, Hawkes, Miller, Hawkins, Travers (Jackson 74), Rodney, Adeloye.
Unused subs: Boyle, Cooper.