John Hughes' side lost out 1-0 at MK Dons this afternoon in a match in which the hosts dominated possession.
Pools were well and truly put under pressure in the first half here at stadium:mk.
The hosts dominated from start to finish and John Hughes’ men were fortunate to go in just one goal down at the break.
Pools suffered an early blow when Evan Horwood limped off after just 4 minutes of play; the left back looked to be suffering a groin injury and was replaced by Darren Holden.
There was a succession of chances on goal from the hosts throughout the first forty-five which was kick-started by Luke Chadwick who had the first chance of the game on 5 minutes as he sent a header from close range over the bar.
Jack Baldwin blocked bravely as Dean Bowditch cut in from the right as MK Dons pushed closer to opening the scoring.
And the goal did arrive on 15 minutes when a ball lifted into the box by Darren Potter found Ryan Lowe in space and he made no mistake as he headed home and, despite a suspicion of offside, the officials allowed the goal to stand.
With Pools struggling to find any real momentum, there were a number of loose passes which gave the hosts an extra advantage going forward.
Dean Lewington went close to making it 2-0 when he curled a lovely left-footed freekick around the wall only to find the side netting, while Scott Flinders pulled off a great save to deny Angelo Balanta with a low strike on goal.
Pools had their first – and only – effort on goal in the first half when Baldwin showed great vision to pick out Jonathan Franks with a long ball forward and the winger pushed on into the box to try a chipped effort on goal but it was easy for Dons keeper David Martin.
Back at the busier end of the pitch and Flinders was called into action to save from Balanta again before collecting an ambitious long-range effort from Stephen Gleeson at the second attempt.
The hosts had the ball in the back of the net again just after the half-hour mark as Shaun Williams rose to head for a Bowditch corner but the referee’s whistle ruled out the effort and play continued.
Flinders made one last outstanding save just before half time to deny Luke Chadwick who had intercepted a short pass to break into the box and fire on goal only to be denied by the Pools’ stopper.
And so Pools went in at the break with a goal deficit but with a great deal to change if they were to get anything from the second half of this game.
Hughes’ half-time team talk clearly lifted his players as they came out to see more of the ball in the opening exchanges of the second half than they had for much of the first.
But the hosts remained a big threat going forward and when Bowditch sent a teasing ball across the face of goal from the right, it just narrowly scraped past the arriving Lowe to deny a second goal.
Charlie Wyke broke into space to try his luck on goal for Pools on the half-volley but thestriker saw his powerful effort blocked by Martin.
At the other end, Balanta was left wondering just how on earth he failed to make it 2-0 as he tried to connect with another great ball in from Bowditch.
Pools were seeing more of the ball at the right end of the field in the second half and were slowly starting to ask questions of the largely untested home defence.
Karl Robinson’s looked the more likely to hit the next goal though as the Pools’ backline were kept the busier of the two and Flinders had to be alert again to once more deny Chadwick a goal.
The hosts looked set to finally double their lead late in the game when Potter smashed an effort at goal from inside the area but, with Flinders beat, the ball cracked against the bar and back into play where Humphreys was able to clear.
Despite some late possession, Pools failed to find that one breakthrough to grab even a point here this afternoon and it finished 1-0 to MK Dons
The defeat sees Pools break an unwanted Club record of 21 games without victory.
Full Time: MK Dons 1 Pools 0
Att: 7164 (111 Pools)
Booked: Sweeney (43), Baldwin (64), Rutherford (85)
Pools: Flinders, Richards, Collins, Baldwin, Horwood (Holden 4), Franks (Poole70), Sweeney, Humphreys, Monkhouse, Wyke (Rutherford 81), Howard
Subs Not Used: McHugh, Johnson, Boagey, Murray
MK Dons: Martin, Kouo-Doumbe, Kay, Williams, Gleeson, Potter, Bowditch, Lowe (MacDonald 82), Lewington, Chadwick, Balanta (Ismail 61)
Subs Not Used: McLoughlin, Smith, Chicksen, Powell, Sekajja