Hartlepool director of sport Chris Turner felt his side were worthy winners against Oldham.
First-half goals from Ritchie Jones and Andy Monkhouse put Pools firmly in control but following Peter Hartley's red card in the 83rd minute, the Latics halved their deficit with two minutes remaining to set up a tense finale at Victoria Park.
"I'm relieved, I must admit. But we did enough to win it," said Turner. "We went 2-0 up quite easily, could have been three. Second half I felt very comfortable, they didn't give us many problems, we didn't create chances, it was a nothing game."
He added: "We looked set to see it out but then we lost possession and within 20 seconds the game turned on its head. Chris Taylor came on and caused problems, went past Peter Hartley and he got booked.
"When he went into the melee of players, his inexperience caught him out as their experienced players dragged him into it.
"They scored then we had panic stations and hung on. We needed luck and a great save from Scott Flinders. It was three or four minutes of mayhem. They missed three or four good chances in a short period of time."
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