Pools’ five-match unbeaten run came to an end with a 1-0 defeat at Scunthorpe United this afternoon.
Colin Cooper’s men battled hard throughout the game but a late strike for the hosts was the difference between the two sides.
With the confidence of a side who had only lost two League games so far this campaign, Scunthorpe came at Pools with all guns blazing from the off.
Brian Laws had gone all-out attack for this afternoon’s game and, as such, Pools had some defending to do in the opening minutes.
Andy Dawson was enjoying a lot of space down the left and was getting some decent crosses in but Scott Flinders dealt with them as a matter of routine, while Christian Burgess was winning everything in the air.
Jonathan Franks, who was Pools’ main threat in this first half, found his first opening just before 10 minutes when he stole possession to cyt in from the left but his shot on goal went wide.
Luke James, who was marked closely by David Mirfin, was next up to try his luck; a lovely ball forward from Jack Baldwin was sent goalwards with a flying header from James but Sam Slocombe in the home goal held the chance.
Michael Duckworth opened things up down the right as the half progressed and Pools began to see more of the ball. The right back pushed forward before crossing into the box and, although the ball was blocked, it ran loose to Dolan on the edge of the box and he sent a shot through the area which went wide for corner under pressure from James.
After soaking up the hosts’ pressure for much of the half, Pools began to dominate and, with half-time approaching, it was Cooper’s men who looked set to break the deadlock.
Slocombe pulled off another great save from Franks after the winger had twisted his way into space to shoot from the left side of the box and the keeper also beat Monkhouse to the ball as he looked to meet a corner with a towering header.
Before the break both Franks and Poole had chances to score – only for both to go wide – but Scunthorpe will have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle as Pools were well on top by now.
Pools went closest to scoring just minutes after the re-start; Andy Monkhouse picked up possession outside the box and sent an impressive strike at goal, which took a slight deflection that saw it tip the post on its way out for a corner.
The winger wasn’t finished there though and tried a similarly spectacular effort just after – but again a deflection took it wide of target.
At the other end, David Syers broke through with goal in his sights but a combination of a great save from Flinders and Simon Walton challenging saw the chance deflected for a corner.
Scunthorpe did go on to enjoy a decent spell of pressure and Pools were forced to show their strengths at the back for a period.
Jack Baldwin saved what looked set to be a goal for the hosts as Sam Winnall burst forward to break into the box only for the Pools’ defender to put in a perfectly-timed challenge to steal the ball and allow the danger to be cleared.
With confidence growing amongst the Scunthorpe side, Christian Burgess intercepted to put the ball out for a corner, before Dolan cleared a corner and Flinders collected a shot to keep them out.
And the hosts’ pressure paid off on 76 minutes when Sam Winnall forced his way past Burgess to go one-on-one with Flinders and send a low strike past the Pools keeper and into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
With just over ten minutes of the game remaining, Cooper’s men now faced a battle if they were to extend their recent unbeaten run.
Pools were piling the pressure on late in the game but an ankle injury to a Scunthorpe player in the middle of the pitch saw the official halt proceedings and spoil the flow for Cooper’s side.
It was all Pools for the majority of the seven minutes added on but there was no breakthrough and Cooper's men faced defeat for the first time in six games.
The hard work and effort put in by Pools this afternoon deserved something from this game but Scunthorpe pressed hard throughout the match and took advantage of just one slip to take the points.
Full Time: Scunthorpe United 1 Pools 0
Att: 3613 (492 Pools)
Booked: Burgess (58)
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Baldwin, Burgess, Austin, Franks, Walton (Sweeney 85), Dolan, Monkhouse, Poole (Walker 65), James (Rodney 84)
Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Collins, Holden, Richards
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe, Byrne, Canavan, Mirfin, Dawson, Hawkridge (Waterfall 85), Syers, McAllister, Spencer (Ribeiro 46), Winnall, Burton (Iwelumo 72)
Subs Not Used: Severn, Esajas, Adelakun, Wootton