Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor was on an emotional high after reaching the National League play-off final. 

Rhys Oates scored the crucial goal in a 1-0 win over Stockport County at Edgeley Park to set up a date with Torquay United at Ashton Gate.

Pools ended County's 18 match unbeaten run with a huge performance in Cheshire as they held onto the victory after Oates' 75th minute strike. 

"These are games that put you through the mill emotionally in terms of where you're at" Challinor said after the full time whistle.  

"It's difficult to reflect so quickly after you're on such a high. 

"I thought we were a bit safe in the first half and once we got into the attacking half we were bang average.

"We needed to be more brave and I asked Jamie and Fergie how many balls they'd put in and they couldn't really say. At the start of the second Jamie has already put two in. 

"You felt one goal would do it and thankfully we're on the right side of it. 

Pools main man was at the heart of the action once again as Oates scored his 17th goal of the season and his ninth in his last nine games. 

His performances have been crucial to Pools run of form he's now scored three goals during Pools play-off campaign but Challinor admits his attentions were elsewhere when he scored. 

"I was more concerned with the ball from Lidds (Gary Liddle) that nearly got cut out but it didn't.

"It's the first goal I probably haven't celebrated because I was shouting at somebody else. I'm not sure how the ball ended up with Oatesy there."

Even though the players and manager will be celebrating a huge victory in their hopes to return to the Football League, Challinor admits that attentions will swiftly turn to preparations for the final. 

"It's about learning. It's a process" says Challinor.

"Not just for the players that are 30 plus or on the wrong side of 30 like Lidds is or 19, 20 year-olds.

"It's about them becoming better footballers and realising areas where you want to play. 

"We'll look at things next week. We go into it in a bit of the unknown.

"I said to the players before the game today, although we'd set up a certain way because of how Stockport were and their personnel.

"We didn't know what there team was going to be for certain so you've got to be adaptable.

"We watched the Torquay game yesterday and I've never seen them play like that. Centre back, left midfield in a four four two.

"Whether they choose to be like that again, I'm not sure.

"We know they've got threats all over the pitch so we know we've got to, as best we can this week, cover every eventuality

"Once we do have a specific game plan, players have got to look at whether that's right and work and adpat to what's in front of them.

"They've done that really well and hopefully, one last time, we can achieve something special."