Pools suffered Valentine’s Day disappointment as Stevenage eased to a 3-1 victory, spurning an opportunity to claw back some points at the bottom of the table.
The visitors scored once in the first half and twice after the break as they dominated things this afternoon. A Scott Fenwick strike just after half time was not capitalised and Pools suffered defeat.
The first ten minutes of the game was played out at a frantic pace, with both teams going into the game at full-speed.
Jack Compton and Jonathan Franks were running things for Pools, allowed lots of space down both wings and taking full advantage.
A much-changed Stevenage side looked bright going forward, adopting a typically physical approach but they looked shaky at the back and Pools needed to exploit this.
But despite plenty of positive play from Moore’s side, visiting keeper Chris Day had very little to do and remained largely untested by the break.
And, as Pools’ enthusiasm and energy in the attack waned, Stevenage upped their pressure on goal and began to do more to threaten the Pools goal.
Dean Parrett was allowed to travel too far with the ball before he sent a low drive at goal but Flinders reacted calmly to collect the shot.
Dean Wells was next to have a chance for the visitors but he sent his close-range chance wide of goal and then Ben Kennedy poked the ball wide after decent work from David Martin.
Stevenage went close again just after when Kennedy ran through on goal but Flinders got just enough on the ball to take it out of his stride.
The goal did arrive for the visitors on 38 minutes as Michael Duckworth misjudged a ball across goal from the right allowing it to find Martin at the far post and he sent it back past Flinders and into the back of the net.
Pools spent much of the remainder of the half defending against a more confident Stevenage side, offering little in response and the half finished with the visitors still ahead.
Scott Fenwick joined the action for the start of the second half and he made an almost instant impact; Jonathan Franks fed the ball into the box for the sub striker who took his time to control the ball before slotting it coolly past Day to make it 1-1 on 49 minutes.
Unfortunately Stevenage hit back quickly as a corner from the left found Kennedy in too much space and his header beat Flinders and gave his side the lead once more.
Pools looked more positive again going forward though and went close from their own corner at the next attempt: Scott Harrison met it with a powerful header but he saw his effort go wide of target.
Neil Austin put in a great block to deny Parrett who was threatening from the edge of the area as Pools had to keep things tight at the other end.
With their next attack though, things got worse for Pools; with the home team appealing for a foul on Morgan, the ball went up fiend for Kennedy whose shot was touched into the air by Flinders but it wasn’t enough to keep it out of the net and, despite the best
efforts of Mirfin, the ball bounced up into the net.
The third goal clearly shook Pools’ confidence and there was none of the spark on show that there had been in the early part of the second half. It was Stevenage who looked most like scoring again as Pools again struggled to get forward.
Scott Fenwick had the best chance as he picked up possession on the left side of the box late in the game but his volleyed effort hit the side netting.
But that was as close as Pools, who have yet to record victory over Stevenage, got and the game finished with a comfortable victory for the visitors.
Full Time: Pools 1 Stevenage 3
Booked: Tshibola (90)
Att: 3388 (72 Stevenage)
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Harrison, Mirfin, Austin, Franks, Tshibola, Woods, Compton, Harewood (Fenwick 46, Morgan (J Jones 75).
Subs Not Used: Maxted, D Jones, Richards, Featherstone, Walker.
Stevenage: Day, Dembele, Bond, Whelpdale, Walton, Parrett (Lee 77), Wells, Beardsley, Kennedy (D Johnson 89), Deacon, Martin (Andrade 72).
Subs Not Used: Beasant, Zola, Pett, R Johnson.