Sheffield United needed a 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory to defeat Hartlepool in a tight Carling Cup clash.
Stephen Quinn gave the Blades the lead when he headed in a pinpoint delivery from the lively Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
The hosts hit back and got their reward through Antony Sweeney, who guided in a Nathan Luscombe cross.
Despite a Sweeney injury putting Pools a man down in extra time, the Blades had to rely on Danny Philliskirk's decisive spot-kick to seal their win.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM:
Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson told BBC Radio Sheffield:
"The priority was to get through the tie. That was the game plan.
"When the game was getting into the last stages, I thought we should have put it to bed.
"The nice thing is that we've got a little momentum going."