Pools lost out narrowly to Burnley this evening in a highly entertaining Carling Cup clash at The Vic.
Chris Turner's men put in a top-drawer display and proved a worthy match for their higher league opponenst this evening - but an Adam Boyd opener was cancelled out by sub Steven Fletcher, who went on to grab the winner late into extra time.
Pools weathered an early storm from the Premier League visitors this evening to take a real hold on the game.
Burnley were strong from the start and really tested Pools with their pace and movement from the off.
There was a threat for Turner's men inside the first five minutes when the dangerous Chris Eagles whipped a ball in from the right which found the pacy Fernando Guerrero inside the box but the impressive delivery was wasted as Guerrero headed well over the bar.
The high tempo start to the game continued, with Pools needing to settle into their stride to avoid the visitors taking a real hold over the game.
And the ball was in the back of the net in the 22nd minute when Rodriguez headed into the back of the net - the offside flag was up early though and ruled out the effort.
Both Sam Collins and Gary Liddle made crucial interceptions to deny the visitors and the back line had to be solid to keep Burnley at bay.
Rodriguez could well have given Owen Coyle's side the lead when he picked up possession 8 yards out on goal but the striker was arrogant in his touch and tried to back heel past Flinders - the Pools keeper though, collected with ease.
With half an hour on the clock, Pools slowly began asking more questions of the Burnley back line - with Andy Monkhouse in particular a threat.
A Leon McSweeney ball from the right whipped across the face of goal where Monkhouse was waiting to nod goalwards - but the left winger was slightly stretching to meet the effort and Diego Penny collected his effort.
And in the 39th minute Turner's men made their possession count with a lively opener; Monkhouse played a neat one-two with Antony Sweeney just inside the box before the left winger received the ball back and lifted it across goal for Adam Boyd to poke home and give Pools the lead.
Turner's side were looking much more composed now and had the visitors on the rails going into the break - a move started by Leon McSweeney on the right wing eventually found Monkhouse on the opposite flank - he smashed his effort at goal but was denied by a top block from Penny.
Burnely had a late snapshot effort on goal in additional time when Jay Rodriguez fired in from close range but Flinders was more than equal to the shot and Pools carried the lead into the second half.
The second half proved just as lively as both sides came out full of steam - while Burnley were out to equalise, Pools were in no mood to sit back as they pushed forward at every opportunity.
Pools came close to making it 2-0 when Denis Behan burst down the right powering past the defender to lay the ball across the face of goal - Monkhouse was arriving just on time at the far post to strike home but a last-gasp interception from Richard Eckersley denied the goal.
With Turner's men once again dominating, Owen Coyle was forced to introduce some of his more senior players, with both strikers replaced and Steven Fletcher and Martin Paterson joining the action - Robbie Blake was also introduced just minutes later.
With the visitors' confidence rising with the introduction of the subs, Pools could have been forgiven for taking their foot off the gas slightly but that was not on the agenda for Turner's men who continued to battle.
A great ball from Andy Monkhouse from the left wing headed for the in-running Behan but the big striker could only get the slightest touch on the ball in a great position and the chance was missed.
Both Monkhouse and the hard working Jones tried their luck with strikes from distance but both hit the same spot just to the right of Penny's goal.
At the other end sub Paterson was allowed to turn and shoot on goal but his effort rolled wide of the far post.
Despite persistence from Pools and continued good play at both ends of the field, the visitors drew level with 84 minutes on the clock. A quick break saw the ball fed through for Steven Fletcher who cut into the area from the right before firing in to the bottom right corner of Flinders' net.
The goal was disappointing for a Pools side who had proved more than a match for their Premier League opponents and looked set to steal a deserved win.
Fletcher tried to snatch the winner just moments later but his effort from the edge of th ebox was parried by Flinders - Guerrero ran in to have a stab at the rebound but he put too much on the ball and it sailed well wide of goal.
Pools were under the cosh then in the run-up to the end of the ninety minutes as Burnely tried hard to avoid the extra time - Pools had to deal with a succession of balls into the box but with every player back in the final third, Turner's men kept Coyle's side at bay and the game went into extra time.
Just after the re-start Pools showed their intentions when Colin Larkin burst into the area from the right to fire in on goal only to see his well-effort crash against the crossbar and bounce back into play.
Strike partner Behan then fired in a thunderous volley from the edge of the area which was blocked well by Penny, while the Irish front man burst in to fire at goal later in a lively first half but saw the ball scrape wide of the far post.
Burnley were reduced to ten men with ten minutes of the half having been played - Richard Eckersley had a battle on the left wing with Monkhouse which saw the Pools man come out on top and when play stopped, the Burnley man was shown a red card for his involvement.
Burnley took the lead just minutes into the second half of extra time when a short corner was whipped in by Martin Paterson for Steven Fletcher who was on hand to head home from close range.
Further disappointment for Pools who had dominated the opening half of extra time only to be punished just after the re-start.
Turner's men threw everything forward after the goal - a good ball from Larkin to Monkhouse inside the box almost created a leveller. The left winger put a ball across goal which was only just missed by the arriving McSweeney who was agonisingly close to poking home.
A great save from Penny denied Larkin a deserved equaliser as Pools plugged away to the very end.
Chris Turner can be proud of his side this evening as they pushed Burnley all the way in this Cup tie only to be just edged out by two goals from £3million striker Fletcher.
The players left the field to a full ovation from the home fans who clearly appreciated the efforts and performance of the Pools players in this highly entertaining clash.
Att: 3501 (621)
Pools: Flinders, Haslam, Liddle, Collins, Hartley, McSweeney, Sweeney (Fredriksen 97), Jones, Monkhouse, Behan , Boyd (Larkin 78)
Subs Not Used: Cook, Austin, Rowell, Power,Greulich
Burnley: Penny, McDonald, Gudjonsson, Edgar, Eckersley, Rodriguez (Fletcher 61), Bikey, Caston, Thompson (Paterson 61), Guerrero,Eagles (Blake 65)
Subs Not Used: Elliott, Jensen, Alexander, Jordan