Hartlepool United have won promotion back into League Two of the National League after a dramatic penalty shoot out against Torquay United.
The last time Hartlepool played in the English Football League was against Doncaster Rovers in the 2016/17 season. Pools were in the bottom two and were fighting to stay in the league. Supporters didn’t know if the final game of the season, hosted at Victoria Park, was going to be a celebration or a funeral. Everyone needed Newport County to lose as the points gap wasn’t that wide between the two teams. If Newport won, Pools would be relegated to the Vanarama Conference league alongside Leyton Orient, regardless of what our score was. The match was tense. The final score saw us win against Doncaster, but Newport also sadly won. Even though supporters were celebrating our win, Pools’ 96-year run in the Football League had come to an end.
Now, after four full leagues in the Conference, on Sunday 20th June 2021, Pools won against Torquay United in the playoffs and are back in the Football League, ready to face some familiar teams next season. Fans queued for over fourteen hours to purchase tickets to the match, which was due to be held at Ashton Gate in Bristol. The tickets dwindled down to the last few within two days of them being on sale, due to the Coronavirus pandemic resulting in further restrictions on fan capacity within the stadium. Even though some fans were disappointed that they couldn’t purchase tickets to the playoff final, when the League Two fixtures start in August, ground capacity might have increased and those who haven’t been able to purchase season tickets will be able to.
No doubt Jeff Stelling will be ecstatic about Pools’ return to the EFL.
Final Score: Hartlepool United 1-1 Torquay United
(Hartlepool winning 5-4 on penalties).