Pools made it seven games without a goal as they lost out 2-0 to MK Dons this afternoon.
A goal in each half was more than enough for the visitors to take all three points in what was a comfortable performance for them.
Hughes’ men were reduced to ten just after the break as Simon Walton saw red for a challenge on Patrick Bamford but the damage was done early on in the game for a Pools side who cannot seem to find the back of the net.
Things did not start well for Pools this afternoon as MK Dons pounced within the first ten minutes to take the lead.
Pools lost out on a challenge on the edge of the box and the ball fell nicely for Patrick Bamford; the MK Dons striker showed some clever footwork to nip past two home shirts before sending the ball past Flinders and in off the post to make it 1-0.
After a disappointing start, Pools did see much more of the ball but failed to really test Ian McLoughlin in the visiting goal.
Antony Sweeney went down injured just after the 20-minute mark and had to limp off. His replacement Luke James received a rapturous welcome from home fans as he ran out onto the pitch.
At one point in the first half, Sam Collins and Peter Hartley were forcing things forward down the left wing, trying to push the team forward for an equaliser.
After thirty minutes though, Pools only efforts on goal had come in the form of speculative efforts from Jonathan Franks and Charlie Wyke but both efforts went well wide.
MK Dons were hurrying Pools in possession and ensuring nothing was made easy and it made for a frustrating first half for John Hughes’ men.
Pools did show a few glimpses of encouragement in the closing minutes of the first half but there was not enough to pull McLoughlin into action and they left the field a goal behind.
Things were made much harder for Pools just after the break as Simon Walton was shown a straight red card; a challenge on Bamford was deemed to be a sending off offence by the heavily-involved official and Hughes’ men had to continue with ten men.
There was an incident minutes later when the busy Bamford clashed with Jack Baldwin but despite the protestations from Pools to the official, he decided a yellow was the deserved punishment on this occasion.
MK Dons substituted an increasingly unpredictable Bamford moments after.
With a furious atmosphere inside The Vic, Scott Flinders came to the rescue to deny substitute Daniel Powell who had gone through one-on-one with the keeper.
But the keeper could do nothing with the Dons’ next attack as Dean Bowditch broke through to curl a neat finish into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
In a slow remainder to the game, Peter Hartley went close to pulling one back for Pools as he took a neat touch inside the area to fire in low at goal but he saw his effort hit against the post and go out of play.
Jack Baldwin’s return to action and the quality of his performance this afternoon is one positive that Pools can take from another disappointing afternoon of football at Victoria Park.
But with no goal in seven games and Pools firmly in place at the foot of League One, it was another poor outing for Hughes’ men today.
Booked: Horwood (16), Monkhouse (18), Baldwin (90)
Sent Off: Walton (51)
Pools: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood (Holden 46), Walton, Baldwin, Sweeney (James 24), Monkhouse, Franks, Wyke
Subs Not Used: McHugh, Rowbotham, Hawkins, Rutherford, Boagey
MK Dons: McLoughlin, Otsemobor, Doumbe, Williams, Gleeson, Potter, Bowditch, Smith (Powell 56), Chicksen (Galloway 72), Lowe, Bamford (Chadwick 58)
Subs Not Used: Baldock, Lines