Loan watch: A touch of Cass helps Pools back into the Football League
Written by Dan King
Hartlepool United will be back in the Football League next season after they beat Torquay United in a thrilling National League play-off final on Sunday.
And - although he didn't feature in the final at Bristol Rovers' Ashton Gate - Newcastle United loanee Lewis Cass was a big part of Pools' promotion, having started 33 league games, with a further appearance as a substitute, following his temporary move to Victoria Park last October.
Cass, who signed a new deal with the Magpies before heading to Hartlepool, suffered a hamstring injury in Dave Challinor's side's last league game of the campaign. That kept him out of the elimination round matches against Stockport and Bromley and led to him missing out in the final, but he still received a medal and can be proud of his contribution throughout the season.
In front of a crowd of 6,606, Pools went ahead through Luke Armstrong - son of former Newcastle youngster and current Darlington manager Alun - in the first half, only for Torquay goalkeeper Lucas Covolan to dramatically head home a stoppage time equaliser.
The Gulls had already seen a goal in each half from Magpies Academy product Kyle Cameron controversially disallowed and after a goalless period of extra time, Pools won 5-4 on penalties, meaning they are back in League Two four seasons after their 96-year run in the Football League came to an end.
Another former Newcastle player, Jamie Sterry, played the full game for Hartlepool while Ryan Donaldson came off the bench.