Matthew Bates admitted emotions were running high for everyone after a dramatic win over Doncaster Rovers proved insufficient for Pools to escape relegation from League Two.
The caretaker boss was visibly moved as he spoke to the press about Saturday afternoon’s events, which saw 18-year-old Devante Rodney come off the bench to score twice and provoke wild celebrations from a bumper home crowd.
However, despite coming from a goal down to win 2-1, Newport County’s late victory over Notts County meant that the Welsh outfit survived and Bates was left to ponder an eventually traumatic afternoon.
“It’s difficult to put in to words how I am feeling,” he told Pools PlayerHD.
“We went in at half time dead and buried but then it swung right around in the second half – you couldn’t have asked for a bigger swing and that makes it more disappointing at the end really.
“Devante took his goals so well. For his age, to come in to a game like that with Sky here and all the fans behind us and take his goals the way he did – I couldn’t have done that at his age, put it that way.
“I’ve said to the lads if we put in to isolation what they’ve done in the two weeks since I have been in charge and I couldn’t be more humbled by them and proud of them.
“There were tears in the dressing room; everyone was emotional, I was emotional. But I can’t criticise them for the last two games, they’ve been absolutely fantastic.
“The support was incredible. That’s why the players came and applauded them before the game because we wanted to show that appreciation.
“The performance was good but that will probably be forgotten about over the next week because we have been relegated.
“For the players and the staff, hopefully the performance can send us in to next year with hope that we can get this Club back where it belongs because we can do that.”
Watch the full post-match video interview with Matthew Bates right now on Pools PlayerHD.