HARTLEPOOL United’s second-half comeback showed the “determination and spirit” within the Pools camp, says boss Ronnie Moore.
If ever a game summed up a season, the 3-3 draw against Carlisle United at Brunton Park was it.
Pools were awful for the opening 45 minutes, conceding three goals in the space of eight first-half minutes to go in 3-0 down.
But they came out a different side, fighting their way back into the contest and in the end were unlucky not to come away with a win to finish the season.
Moore said: “It had been some week and I said to the players let’s go out and enjoy it.
“But you can’t give any team a three-goal head start and you could see first-half why we’ve been in so much trouble all season.
“The goals were a joke.
“They’ve not had to work for them at all, but at least we showed spirit and gave them a pat on the back at the end.
“Our goals were all footballing goals and [Michael] Duckworth’s was a hell of a strike, with great movement – and a triple somersault with pike and tuck to celebrate!
“It will give him confidence, certainly.
“We started with 3-5-2, changed it to be more solid and then conceded three goals – a funny old game someone said.
“It wasn’t a party, it was a wake and then a party again but our never say die attitude came into play, which is what we’ve had since I came here.”
Pools should have won it late on, Jonathan Franks wasted the chance to cross to Marlon Harewood who was free inside the box, while Matthew Bates’ 45-yard volley forced a save.
Moore added: “Franksy could have won it at the end, pick out a pass and we win it.
“But Aussie [Neil Austin] made an unreal clearance off the line and Batesy made a great tackle, but we had the second-half.
“Without the spirit and character we would have gone under and going back to last December and the Burton Albion game we could have lost by eight here.
“We showed determination and spirit and got on the front foot to send the fans home happy.”
On-loan Preston North End striker Jordan Hugill scored twice to cap an impressive loan spell from the League One side.
The Middlesbrough-born striker missed a glorious chance early in the first half to put Pools 1-0 up but made up for it after the break, with two goals from close range.
Moore added: “Jordan got two and could have had three but after missing his free header they went 1-0 up.
“But he will take the two goals, without playing particularly well.”