Mick Wadsworth hailed the impact of sub James Poole after Hartlepool came close to snatching maximum points at MK Dons.
An entertaining clash finished 2-2, with Luke Chadwick cancelling out Adam Boyd's opener and Jabo Ibehre's deflected effort earning the Dons a point after Poole had scored a superb solo goal for the visitors.
"It is a good result," Wadsworth told the club's official website. "If you come here first game of the season and things haven't settled yet, you have to say you'll be happy with a draw.
"But obviously when you steal a goal so late on, we put ourselves in great shape to get the three points and we're quite disappointed to let it slip because I think we defended brilliantly throughout the game.
"I thought the subs all made positive impacts. We thought with Poolie, if we gave him 10 or 15 minutes with his pace, he's a great outlet and him and Nathan Luscombe combined brilliantly for the goal.
"James is a dangerous player when he gets the ball at his feet and starts running. We saw it in pre-season and that's why he's here - because he's got terrific ability and he's got goals in him."