‘Horrible’ – Dave Challinor’s random thought that sums up Hartlepool United's late nerves at Stockport County perfectly
It was a nervous end for Dave Challinor and Hartlepool United but they got the job done at Stockport County.
Pools led 1-0 at Edgeley Park thanks to Rhys Oates’ late strike from the edge of the box.
There had been almost nothing to choose between the sides until that point and what followed was the longest 14-minutes plus five minutes of stoppage time of Hartlepool’s season.
A last minute save from Brad James to deny Richie Bennett kept the visitors’ clean sheet intact as they progressed to the play-off final against Torquay United at Ashton Gate next Sunday (2pm kick-off).
And Challinor, who admitted he didn’t really see Oates’ winner, was certainly feeling the nerves in the closing stages of the match as his side looked to hang on.
“I've been told I looked quite calm, externally, outwardly,” he said. “It's horrible and I'm not going to say any different.
"It's not a nice place to be and sometimes those are the times you question why you do it."
And when the fourth official’s board read out a minimum of five minutes of stoppage time, the Pools boss’ head was all over the place as a random thought popped into his head, such were the emotions of the situation.
“It's the longest time of your life and you think when it's five minutes of injury time, I certainly don't run much any more but I was thinking 'if I was doing a five minute run I think it would go quicker than the next five minutes,' that's the sort of emotions you go through,” he added.
"I was sat back, the ball was down [at Stockport's end] and everyone else was stood up so I didn't really see what was going on and I wasn't overly concerned by it to be fair.
"If the ball didn't come into our half of the pitch I was quite happy.
"Of course emotions are all over the place, that's what it's like in these games.
"For you guys sat watching, you go through it too, probably not as much as what we do but it's great to win.”