Pools came back from 3-0 down to take a share of the points in an exciting final game of the 2014/15 season at Carlisle United.
Ronnie Moore’s side looked beaten by half time as the hosts stormed to a 3-0 lead but a second-half comeback saw two Jordan Hugill goals and a Michael Duckworth wonder strike bring it back to 3-3.
Scott Flinders made a good save on nine minutes as Carlisle pressed early on – the Pools keeper reacted quickly to block from former Pools loan man Charlie Wyke before Scott Harrison then put in a great block inside the box to again deny Wyke again who was busy for the hosts.
The opening twenty minutes were pretty even though as Pools enjoyed their share of attacking possession. Aaron Tshibola tried his luck with a shot from distance that went over and a Jonathan Franks cross from the left was flicked on by Jordan Hugill only to be grabbed by Mark Gillespie with a decent save.
On 25 minutes the hosts made their first move; Kyle Dempsey was allowed too much space on the edge of the box and the Carlisle winger picked his spot to send a low drive through the area and past Flinders to make it 1-0.
And the goal for the hosts signalled the start of a real poor spell from Moore’s side, with another two goals following in quick succession.
A Dempsey freekick picked out Brad Potts who sent a cross back into the box for Steven Rigg who was waiting to poke home at the far post on 31 minutes.
On 33 minutes it was 3-0 and it was more poor defending; Pools failed to clear the ball out of the box as it bobbled around, allowing several Carlisle players to take a chance. Neil Austin cleared off the line from Rigg but the ball fell loose for Jason Kennedy and he put it back past Flinders for the hosts’ third of the afternoon.
Pools looked unlikely to find a reply before the break but came out brighter for the second half and started to work the home defence.
Marlon Harewood, on in place of Scott Fenwick for the second half, set up Jordan Hugill early after the break and the on-loan striker did well with a curling effort from the edge of the box only to be denied by Gillespie with another good save.
At the other end, Neil Austin got in a great block on the line to deny Rigg as Carlisle again looked to take advantage of some shaky defending from Pools.
Pools got a goal back on 62 minutes as Aaron Tshibola saw his strike deflected into the path of Jordan Hugill who made no mistake as he poked home from close range to make it 3-1.
Just a minute later and it was 3-2 and Pools had given themselves a chance in a game that had looked beyond Pools. Michael Duckworth exchanged passes with the influential Harewood to smash home an unstoppable volley from just inside the box. It was a great goal and Duckworth capped it off with his trademark acrobatic celebrations.
Charlie Wyke somehow missed a great chance to give his side a 4-2 lead on 70 minutes but the striker seemed to kick his own feet and Pools were able to clear the danger.
Neil Austin stepped up to block the next Wyke attack, this time forcing his way between the striker and ball to put the ball out wide for a corner as Carlisle again looked favourite to score next.
Matthew Bates blocked another great effort from Wyke who seemed determined to score before Neil Austin put in an unbelievable clearance on the line to deny the Carlisle striker from the follow-up. The Pools defender executed an acrobatic back-heeled block to keep his side just a goal behind.
And then Pools grabbed the equaliser and it was another good goal; a lovely one-two between Harewood and Tshibola saw the on-loan midfielder send a perfectly-weighted ball across the face of goal for Jordan Hugill to slam home at the far post.
It was now all Pools for the remainder of the game and Matthew Bates almost topped it off in real style; the defender sent a great strike in from 45 yards which dipped down at goal and had to be tipped over by Gillespie at full stretch.
The game finished 3-3, with Pools showing a great comeback once again this season to take a point from a game that looked lost by half time.
Ronnie Moore’s side again showed that Never Say Die spirit that saw them avoid relegation despite being ten points adrift at one stage to get back into the game and send the travelling Poolies home with something to cheer.
Full Time: Carlisle United 3 Pools 3
Attendance: 8105 (2224 Pools)
Carlisle United: Gillespie, Kennedy, Buddle, Sweeney (Hammell 46), Potts (Thirlwell 74), Brough, Rigg (Taylor 63), Dempsey, Wyke, Young, Atkinson.
Subs Not Used: Hanford, O’Hanlon, Douglas, Griffith.
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Harrison, Bates, Austin, Franks, Featherstone, Tshibola, Nelson-Addy (J Jones 57), Hugill, Fenwick (Harewood 46).
Subs Not Used: Maxted, Richards, Miller, Parnaby, Walker.