Hartlepool United are back in the Football League. Relegated in 2017, Pools are now back following their National League Play-off success. Their 5-4 penalty shootout win against Torquay United at Ashton Gate in Sunday’s final sees Hartlepool return to the EFL.
Hartlepool United Are Back in The EFL
Relegated After 96 Years
Elected to the Football League in 1921, Hartlepool would spend 96 years there. Mixed with several promotion campaigns, United battled many times to remain a Football League club and won. Until 2017.
Finishing second bottom of League Two following an eventful but heartbreaking last day of the season, meant the North East club would fall to their lowest position in almost 100 years. However, in their centenary year of being elected, Pools are back where they believe they belong.
Four Seasons in Non-League
Relegation hurt everyone connected with Hartlepool and four seasons in the National League followed. Three long seasons saw United come to terms with their new surroundings, finishing 15th, 16th and 12th. Dave Challinor’s arrival in late 2019 has seen Hartlepool’s fortunes change.
Pools Back Following Play-Off Final Success
This season, Pools flirted with automatic promotion but eventually finished the campaign in fourth place. A home victory over Barrow saw United travel to Stockport County in the play-off semi-final. A hard-fought 1-0 away win took the team to the final, to be played at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate.
In an end to end final against Torquay United, a first-half goal had everyone believing it was enough to take Hartlepool back to the football league to the delight of the thousands of fans who travelled the long distance to Bristol. However, an injury-time equaliser from the Torquay goalkeeper took the game into extra time.
Torquay had the momentum and looked the more likely to win the game. However, a nine-minute stoppage due to an injury to a Torquay player allowed Pools to regroup.
Still, the two teams could not be separated. Penalties would be needed to determine a winner.
Hartlepool United Are Back in the EFL following Penalty Shootout
The first four penalties were missed until Hartlepool scored the fifth of the shootout. Following a heart-stopping set of penalties, it was Pools were where celebrating at the end, winning 5-4.
Pools can now begin to prepare for their first season in League Two for several years. It’s 100 years since they were first elected and whatever happens, their up coimng season is sure to be an eventful one.
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