HARTLEPOOL UNITED’S never say die spirit was to the fore again, as they came back from two goals down at Exeter.

Pools drew 2-2 at St James’ Park to set up a replay a week on Tuesday at Victoria Park, while also earning a place in this evening’s third round draw which takes place at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

Boss Dave Challinor and coach Joe Parkinson will be attending the televised draw and he said: “We have to start better and start games positively and that’s what we have to do in the replay. A good game, with hopefully a huge carrot at the end.

“I hope we get rewarded with a good draw. I would love Liverpool away, my dream draw. We aren’t looking past the replay and Exeter would be in the same boat who they would want in the next round.’’

Pools were two goals down at half-time, after Ryan Bowman converted a cross with a free header, after centre-half Fraser Kerr lost his man.

And then a header was pushed up by keeper Ben Killip and Nigel Atangana netted from close range.

It should have been game over when the Grecians had a chance but Killip made a majestic triple save to keep the score at two.

Pools soon got one back, as Nicky Featherstone cracked home his second goal in as many games, the midfielder drilling into the top corner from 25 yards.

They levelled when Kenton Richardson’s shot was fumbled onto the post by goalkeeper Jon Maxtead – once of Pools – and Nicke Kabamba turned into an empty net.

Pools have lost only two of their last 12 visits to Exeter and the home players looked dejected at the final whistle as the contemplated a trip to the North-East next week.

Speaking to Pools TV, Challinor added: “It was a show of character again. Since I came in, the players are an honest bunch and they epitomise what is on the back of their shirts – never say die.

“The supporters want to see the lads going all they have got and we spoke about going out and wondering ‘what if’.

“Feaths’ strike, a strike of that type will put us on the front foot, we’ve gone a bit more gung-ho and we are in the draw.

“First half, you can come here and be a bit safe and we were a bit safe. Kenton came in and in his first game for a while he was safe, but when he started going forward it opened things up.

“We have showed a lot to make sure we are in the draw and give the fans something to go home happy about.’’