Matt Tubbs’ second half header proved the difference as Pools slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Pompey front man has a habit of finding the net against Pools and his first goal for the South Coast outfit was the third different club for which he has scored against us.
Ronnie Moore opted to draft in both of his new loan signings as Marvin Morgan partnered Scott Fenwick in attack, and David Mirfin was installed in the middle of Scott Harrison and Dan Jones in a change to 3-5-2.
The Pools boss was aware of the slow start which blighted the visit to Fratton Park last term and it seemed the home side remembered it too and were straight at their visitors from the off.
A free-kick was earned on the left inside a minute and defender Joe Devera should probably have given Pompey a lead but his stabbed effort from eight yards out dribbled wide.
Jed Wallace was playing just behind the Portsmouth front two and was typically industrious in linking with Matt Tubbs, who fed Ryan Taylor only for Scott Harrison to block out the front man.
Wallace then stung the palms of Scott Flinders with long-range free-kick though it was a routine save for the keeper, who also saw a Paul Robinson header sail over from a right-wing corner.
Loan star Josh Passley got in behind Pools to the right byline and sent a testing cross in to the front post but Mirfin – whose positional play was excellent – was there to mop up the danger.
Pools were living on the counter-attack and managing to provide a threat a times too – Michael Woods was his usual busy self in the middle of the park alongside Aaron Tshibola, and Morgan was enjoying a positive debut in attack.
However, it was his strike partner Fenwick who came close to registering the opening goal; Austin’s cross was cleared to Tshibola whose mistimed volley skipped to an unmarked Fenwick who scooped an effort over on the turn with the flag seemingly staying down.
Robinson got free at the far post from a Dan Butler free-kick but although he got his header on target this time, it was straight in to the hands of Flinders.
Pompey upped the tempo at the start of the second half and began to ask a few more question of the new-look Pools rearguard, Mirfin’s clearance on the stretch looped dangerously to Wallace but he could only head over the bar.
Robinson headed another effort wide of the target from a right-wing corner as the home crowd increased the volume and sensed a breakthrough for their side.
And the pressure paid on the hour mark when Ryan Taylor burst away down the left side of the penalty area and fizzed a cross in to the near post where Tubbs arrived to angle a powerful header past Flinders and in to the roof of the net.
Substitute Marlon Harewood almost helped Pools pave a way back in the game when he exchanged passes with Michael Duckworth, but the full-back drove his long-range effort too high.
The hosts managed to see the game out pretty effectively after that, and could even have increased their advantage but Danny Hollands stung a drive just a yard too high from the edge of the box.
While Pools continued to battle for route back in to the game, in truth, they rarely looked like threating the Pompey goal and the home side were able to hang on for their first win in ten.
Full Time: Portsmouth 1 Pools 0
Booked: Tshibola (21), Harrison (62), Featherstone (74)
Att: 14,397 (183 Pools)
Portsmouth: Jones; Devera, Robinson (c), Whatmough; Passley, Dunne, Wallace, Hollands, Butler; Tubbs (Chaplin 90), Taylor
Subs Not Used: Poke, Webster, Ertl, Atangana, Barcham, Westcarr.
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Harrison, Mirfin, Jones, Austin, Bates (Featherstone 13), Tshibola (Franks 82), Woods, Fenwick, Morgan (Harewood 59).
Subs Not Used: Maxted, Richards, Holden, Walker, Franks.