Jubilation as Hartlepool United return to the football league after penalty shoot-out win over Torquay

Hartlepool United's Luke Molyneux celebrates with the trophy after winning their match against Torquay. Credit: PA Images

Hartlepool United have been promoted to League Two after winning 5-4 on penalties in the National League Playoff Final at Ashton Gate in Bristol.

They sealed their return to the English Football League for the first time since 2017.

  • Pools fans share their excitement over the result of the game.

Luke Armstrong gave Hartlepool a first-half lead that looked like it would be enough to see Dave Challinor's men over the line.

But with just seconds left in the match, Torquay goalkeeper Lucas Covolan struck a dramatic equaliser in the fifth minute of added time, forcing extra time.

Neither side could scramble a winner in the additional 30 minutes, so the game had to be decided by penalties.

Bizarrely, the first four spot-kicks were missed before Hartlepool goalkeeper Brad James saved Matt Buse's spot-kick to settle the tie.

Torquay United's Matt Buse reacts after seeing his penalty saved by Hartlepool United goalkeeper Bradley James to end the shoot-out. Credit: PA Images

Hartlepool United fans celebrate the victory Credit: PA Images

3,100 fans travelled from Hartlepool to Bristol this weekend to watch the big match.

They return to the North East as supporters of a football league club once more.