GEORGE LONG was the hero of the night for Sheffield United as the second-choice goalkeeper helped the Blades through to the second round on penalties.
The 21-year-old denied Scott Harrison and Scott Fenwick as a much-changed United line-up beat Hartlepool for a second time in as many seasons in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Nigel Adkins made nine changes from the starting eleven that beat Swindon Town at the weekend, with only James McEveley and Chris Basham keeping their places.
Blades took a seventh-minute through Ryan Flynn during a period of complete domination, but sloppiness crept into the visitors’ performance which allowed an equaliser from Scott Fenwick, taking the game straight to penalties after 90 minutes.
Despite the positive start, United’s performance levels dropped and the hosts pinched an equaliser on 50 minutes as Rakish Bingham broke before finding Fenwick who levelled matters.
The game went to penalties and after Long had kept out efforts from Harrison and Fenwick, McEveley struck home his spot-kick to win the tie.
Hartlepool United: Bartlett, Harrison, Worley, Jones, Duckworth (Nearney 65), Hawkins (Nelson-Addy 90), Featherstone, Carroll, Bingham, Fenwick, Oates. Substitutes: Denton, Oyenuga, Smith.
Sheffield United: Long, Alcock, McGahey, Kennedy (Sharp 86), McEveley, Wallace, Basham, Woolford, Flynn (Campbell-Ryce 72), McNulty, Higdon. Substitutes: Howard, Collins, Sammon.
Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland).