Matthew Bates hailed the impact of Devante Rodney who shot Hartlepool United to victory over high-fliers Doncaster Rovers, only for Pools to suffer the heartache of relegation from the Football League.
The young striker was sent on for the final quarter of the game with Pools staring the drop into the National League in the face and scored both goals.
When the 18-year-old struck twice in the space of 10 breathtaking minutes Pools had transformed the situation.from a side going down into one set for a great escape.
Pools had to beat Rovers and hope Newport failed to defeat Notts County at Rodney Parade.
With the two Countys level going into the dying minutes, Newport struck two minutes from time through Mark O'Brien to snatch a 2-1 victory.
Interim boss Bates had told SportMail on Friday that he wanted a player to go out and be a hero and Rodney appeared to have done that, only for the devastating news to come in from South Wales.
“Devante was incredible," said Bates.
"For his age to come in in a game which means so much, with Sky here, with all the fans in.
"For him to take his goals as he did was brilliant, I couldn’t have done that at his age.
"It's credit to him, it shows he has a future in the game."
Bates also thanked the near-7,000 crowd at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium for their support.
"Even though their club was relegated they stayed behind at the end to clap the lads off," said the ex-Boro defender.
"The fans were brilliant, the one thing I've learned here is that if the lads give it everything on the pitch they will sticky by you.
"They were amazing."