It was another afternoon of disappointment for Pools as a single first-half goal from visitors Crawley Town was enough for them to take the three points.
The loss sees Neale Cooper’s men now six points adrift of 20th position and makes Tuesday night’s trip to bottom-of-the-league Bury an even bigger test.
It was a frustrating first half here at The Vic as Pools struggled to create any real threat on Paul Jones in the visiting goal.
Crawley were allowed to set the tempo of the game and really had things their own way for the majority of the first forty-five minutes.
Nicky Adams was the main instigator for Richard Barker’s outfit, finding himself involved in most of the action and causing Pools real problems.
Ryan Noble and James Poole enjoyed the occasional run to provide a brief respite for Cooper’s side but the end product was not enough to call Jones into action.
With 16 minutes played, Crawley Town took the lead with relative ease; a corner was whipped in from the left into the box.
Steve Howard won the header and cleared it out to the edge of the box where it was returned back at goal – this time Simon Walton was on hand to head out, only to see the ball met on the volley by Hope Akpan who sent a sweet effort through the area and past Flinders.
After conceding the goal, Pools’ in-form keeper Flinders was almost single-handedly responsible for keeping the scoreline down in the first half.
The big stopper pulled off a reaction save to deny Jonathan Forte with a turn and shot from close range, while Josh Simpson was twice denied by the impressive antics of Flinders.
Flinders tipped over a dipping effort from Nathan Byrne who sent the ball in from the right side of the box and denied Gary Alexander with a strong palm as the visiting skipper curled a strike at goal late in the half.
Neil Austin tried his luck from distance to lift his side but Paul Jones collected with ease, while Darren Holden managed to get a decent cross in from the by-line but the Crawley defence were able to clear.
And so Pools left the field to boos at half time having failed to really show the battle required if they were to get anything from this game today.
Crawley were bright again after the break and Pools had to work hard to keep them out at the back.
But Cooper’s men had a couple of early glimpses themselves – with Austin going closest with a freekick which beat the wall but not the keeper.
Pools did see more of the ball after the break than they had in the first half but were still looking for that real piece of quality to break through the visiting defence and lift the home fans.
Neil Austin, again looking to make an impact from right back, burst forward to send a rocket at goal through a crowd but the defender saw his goal denied by a great save from Jones.
While the strike may not have found the net, it did serve to really lift the players and subsequently the home fans as Pools enjoyed a real strong burst of pressure, sending a number of crosses into the box which forced Crawley into action at the back.
A number of stoppages for injuries slowed the tempo back down but Pools continued to plug away in spurts – largely spurred on by sub Nathan Luscombe who added enthusiasm down the left.
And a flick on by Luscombe saw a late chance on goal for Steve Howard but the hard-working striker saw his effort scrape over the bar as the six minutes of added time neared a close.
Pools have now not won in 11 outings and go into Tuesday night’s trip to Bury knowing victory is a must.
Full Time: Pools 0 Crawley Town 1
Booked: Pools - Baldwin (64), Howard (90), Walton (90); Crawley – Adams (45), Davis (86)
Att: 3852 (118 Crawley Town)
Pools: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Baldwin, Holden, Franks (Richards 81), Sweeney, Walton, Poole, Noble (Luscombe 62), Howard
Subs Not Used: McHugh, Humphreys, Buddle, Richards, Hawkins, Rutherford
Crawley Town: P Jones, Sadler, McFadzean (Connolly 80), Akpan (Bulman 89), Alexander, Forte (Clarke 74), Simpson, Adams, Byrne, M Jones, Davis
Subs Not Used: Torres, Hunt, Ajose, Kuipers