Hartlepool manager Neale Cooper was proud of his players, despite a late home defeat to Sheffield United in League One on Tuesday night.
Dave Kitson headed the Blades into a half-time lead before a header from Steve Howard pulled Pools level after 77 minutes. It was the burly striker's first goal of the season since returning to the club from Leicester.
But Cooper's side succumbed to an 88th-minute goal from Paul Gallagher, the 2-1 reverse leaving them second bottom of the table after a fourth defeat in the last six league matches.
However, Cooper was upbeat, saying: "It was so much better, we created numerous chances and we were after a big reaction - it's not been good enough overall, but I'm so proud.
"We were up for it from the word go all over the park. I made changes and the players who came in were very good.
"It was like watching an old Hartlepool team, like the one I used to have here. No-one is more fed-up than me about our league position and, although we lost like that, I'm so proud of them."