We Showed Our Spirit – Challinor

Dave Challinor, Exeter City v Hartlepool United

Dave Challinor praised the ‘Never Say Die’ attitude of his players after the fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Exeter City and clinch an FA Cup Second Round replay.

Nicky Featherstone’s long-range scorcher and Nicke Kabamba’s predatory finish saw Pools roar back from the brink of an FA Cup exit at St James’ Park and Challinor said the team must take all the credit.

“Since I have come in, they have shown they’re an honest bunch and the epitomise what is written on the back of the shirt,” he told Pools TV.

“I thought in the first half I thought we were a little bit safe; out of possession we knew what shape we wanted to play but on the ball we wanted to go and affect the game.

“We have two willing runners up front who will run all day for you – but you’ve got to give them the ball and we didn’t play forward enough and we conceded poor goals so we have to learn from that.

“At half-time we spoke about not going out wondering or saying ‘what if?’ and we’ve seen before on both sides of the coin that goals change games – and a strike like that from Feaths is always going to put you on the front foot.

“It gave us an injection of energy. We changed our shape and went a bit more gung-ho and we’ve got a draw out of.

“We’ve shown an awful lot to make sure we’re in the draw and once again given the fans who made the long journey something to go home happy about.

“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb again but we seem to love a challenge and the players have to take all the credit for keeping going and coming back.”

The draw for the Third Round will take place at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium on Monday evening for which Challinor and his assistant Joe Parkinson are invited guests.

The Pools boss says he knows neither club can afford to count their chickens ahead of a replay but he is crossing his fingers that the draw is kind on Monday evening for whichever team progresses.

“We certainly aren’t looking past the replay because we know it will be an unbelievably tough game but I think Exeter will be in the same boat as us and would love to go to Spurs or Man United.

“Hopefully, for the two of us, whichever team gets through has a draw waiting that will help finance the club moving forward.”