HARTLEPOOL United sealed progress into the third round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with victory at Bramall Lane, courtesy of a 37th-minute volley from James Poole.
It was a dogged and determined display by Pools, who were worthy winners against League One opposition.
Manager Colin Cooper made two changes from the weekend’s 4-1 win over Mansfield with defender Darren Holden coming in at left-back and midfielder Bradley Walker returning to the starting XI.
The home side almost took the lead in the first minute via a Conor Coady curled left-foot strike but it cannoned off the top of the bar.
Jack Compton then had the chance to open the scoring after he found himself free inside the box on the right hand side but his left-footed effort was comfortably held by Mark Howard in the eighth minute.
Luke James had Pools’ first clear-cut chance when he was put clean through in the 14th minute, but he dragged his shot wide of the left-hand post, leaving the young forward with his head in his hands.
Pools took the lead in the 37th minute when Poole volleyed home crisply from 12 yards after a Holden throw-in evaded the home defence.
Cooper’s side held on until half-time with their lead intact.
Pools started the second half in the same way they ended the first, with Compton finding himself in space in the 54th minute only to see his effort fly harmlessly wide of the post.
Blades manager David Weir made two changes in the 55th minute in a bid to change his team’s fortunes and they did have a strong spell of pressure but were unable to create any clear chances, although Scott Flinders did have to back-pedal furiously to catch Harry Maguire’s deflected cross on the goal line.
The home-side looked nervous as the clock ticked down, not helped by the doggedness shown by the Pools side, with James and Poole leading by example in chasing every ball down in the final third.
Marlon King engineered himself a shot on goal in the 81st minute for the Blades but it was comfortably dealt with by Scott Flinders in the Pools goal, as the away side survived another period of sustained pressure.
Four minutes of injury time were added on but Pools had enough to hold on for the win.
Sheff Utd: Howard, Westlake, Maguire, Collins, Lappin, Baxter, Coady, Doyle, Murphy (Hall 56), Taylor (Ironside 57), King. Subs Not Used: Hill, McGinn, Willis. Booked: Taylor, Baxter.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Duckworth, Austin, Burgess, Holden, Compton (Franks 79), Walton, Monkhouse (Richards 84), Walker, Poole, James (Rodney 85). Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Sweeney. Booked: Poole. Goals: Poole 37.
Att: 4,189 Ref: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire).