Matthew Bates insisted his players should take great pride in their performance despite falling to an agonising FA Cup replay defeat to Gillingham on Wednesday night.
Pools looked set to take up a place in Round Two after storming in to a 2-0 lead in the first half thanks to goals from Carl Magnay and Paddy McLaughlin.
An early second half goal from the visitors put the tie back in the balance but there was to be drama right at the death as The Gills were awarded a 95th-minute penalty which was converted by Tom Eaves.
The League One outfit took control during extra time and went 4-2 up before Tyrone O’Neill netted his first Pools goal to set-up a tense finish but Gillingham held out to claim a dramatic victory.
“It’s hard to take,” admitted Bates when speaking to Pools PlayerHD afterwards.
“I’m not going to make excuses, blame the referee or be unprofessional about it but it’s a real hard one to take because the lads were fantastic.
“They’ve done everything we’ve asked, the gameplan worked up until the very last minute and I couldn’t be more proud of them.
“As coaches and players, we can’t legislate for Carl (Magnay) putting his hand up – I don’t think he can and he knows he made a mistake but it happens in football and it happened at the wrong time for us.
“But I can’t fault the lads’ effort, work rate or the way they applied themselves and they should be proud of themselves.
“If they keep doing what they’re doing, playing like that, sticking to the gameplan and playing with that desire and determination then we’ll get results sooner rather than later.”