Pools Reserves booked their place in the next round of the Durham County Challenge Cup with a thrilling 4-3 win over Billingham Synthonia at Victoria Park on Wednesday night.
Matthew Bates’ men had to come from behind no fewer than three times against the Synners before finally securing their spot in the quarter-finals of the competition.
The visitors started the brighter and snatched an early lead when a ball in from the right wasn’t well dealt with by Pools and Lewis Wood was able to take a touch before ramming it past Ryan Catterick for 1-0.
Pools took their time to recover from the setback but did manage a dangerous effort on goal when a cleared corner from the right fell back to Blair Adams and his cross-shot was just about pawed clear by keeper James Dawson.
It was the full-back who had the next meaningful effort on goal too when he spun in to space on the left edge of the area but this time his drive was just too high to trouble the keeper.
The most incisive moment arrived eleven minutes before the break when Tomi Adeloye played a lovely one-two with Lewis Hawkins on the edge of the area before skipping through on goal to finish past Dawson to level things up.
Adeloye then skilfully slipped around his man on the halfway line to play Devante Rodney through on the left side of the goal but Dawson came out to block the front man’s shot with his feet.
There was a flashpoint as half time approached when Rodney lunged in to try and block a cross from the right but got his timing wrong and was shown a straight red card for the challenge.
The visitors took full advantage of their extra man moments later when play restarted when Pools failed to fully clear a ball in to the box and Wood volleyed low past Catterick from just inside the area to make it 2-1.
Six minutes after the break Pools got back on level terms when Hawkins found space on the edge of the area and sent a crisp, low drive past Dawson and in to the bottom left corner of the net.
It was short-lived parity though as Synthonia went back in front on 54 minutes; a testing inswinging cross from the right was forced over the line by Wood to complete his hat-trick and make it 3-2.
The game was developing in to a classic and it was Pools who struck next to equalise on 57 minutes when a cross from the left was met by Adeloye and his looping header found the back of the net.
Two minutes later Pools were in front for the first time; another delivery from the left was in to the stride of Josh Hawkes and he expertly directed it past Dawson to make it 4-3.
There was a great opportunity for Adeloye to complete his hat-trick ten minutes from time when Hawkins drove past the visiting defence and slid the ball across the front man but he couldn’t find the target and let Synners off the hook.
Full Time: Pools 4 Billingham Synthonia 3
Pools: Catterick, Richardson, Bayne (Orrell 70), Owen, Adams, Hawkes, Miller, Hawkins, Travers (Jackson 74), Rodney, Adeloye.
Subs not used: Boyle, Cooper.