Mark O’Brien’s late goal saves Newport County and sends Hartlepool down

• Irish defender’s 89th-minute goal keeps Newport in the Football League
• Two goals from Devante Rodney earn Hartlepool a 2-1 win in vain

Hartlepool United, the club where Brian Clough started his managerial career and who survived re-election a record 14 times, saw their 96-year stay in the Football League end in heartbreaking fashion when Mark O’Brien’s 89th-minute winner kept Newport County up and relegated the north?east club.

On a dramatic afternoon, two goals in nine minutes from the 18-year-old substitute Devante Rodney looked to have saved Hartlepool, turning a 1-0 deficit at home to Doncaster into a 2-1 lead. Matthew Bates’s side had started the day in the relegation zone and two points behind Newport but with the south Wales side drawing 1-1 against Notts County at Rodney Parade, Rodney’s strikes, the first of his professional career, seemed to have saved Hartlepool.

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