Matthew Bates paid tribute to the character of his players after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Leyton Orient at Victoria Park secured their National League status.
The visitors enjoyed the lion’s share of possession during the encounter but could not find a way through a resolute Pools defence which stood firm in the face of everything thrown at it.
The decisive moment arrived on 38 minutes when Louis Laing’s looping header found the back of the net and clinched the crucial three points to extend Pools’ stay in the division.
“I feel pride, relief and like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Bates told Pools PlayerHD.
“It wasn’t pretty today but sometimes you can’t be but defensively we were outstanding, especially in the second half.
“I want to give a special mention to Louis Laing; it’s funny how football works but I am pleased that he is the one that popped up with the winning goal that ultimately keeps us in the division.
“I’m proud of the lads, I thought they were brilliant and I don’t think you can underestimate what they have had to put up with in the last few months.
“I know we don’t want to be where we are in the league but if you take the last few months in isolation they’ve put up with a lot on and off the field but nobody has ever complained.
“It was a home performance that wasn’t great again tonight but hopefully the shackles are off on Saturday because I want to still win games so we keep going and pick up as many points as we can.”