Matthew Bates cut a happy figure after seeing his side put in an impressive performance at Tranmere Rovers this afternoon.
Goals from Liam Donnelly and Rhys Oates sealed a 2-1 win for Pools against a Rovers side who finished second in the National League.
“They were great,” Bates said of his players after the game.
“We said before the game that they should go and enjoy it, there was no pressure so it was a time to express themselves and do a few things that we had been working on in training.
“I think that was one of the best performances we’ve put in away from home, possibly all season. The lads in there are all really pleased, it was a great end to the season.
“I thought we outplayed them and deservedly went 2-0 up. In possession we were very good, we played some lovely stuff and we were solid at the back.
“The lads could have come here and been on holiday but they didn’t, they came and fought for everything.”
When Oates scored Pools’ second, the players gathered in front of the 738 fancy-dress clad Poolies for a joint celebration.
And Bates was pleased to see his players acknowledge the loyalty of the travelling fans who have stuck with the team throughout this season,
“It’ll make a good photo – I hope someone got a decent one. The fans deserved it, they travel so many miles every year and this season has been the same.
“Even when you’re on the bench, to come out and see them all like that is great. It’s a tradition that they’ve done for years for the last match of the season and I’m sure it will be all over the national press again.
"But it makes is even better when we can come away with a performance and result like that.
“Hopefully that performance shows that there is more to come from the players in that dressing room that will be here next year. They have shown today that they can mix it with the best in this league.”