Pools' five-game unbeaten run came to an end with a narrow defeat to Southend United on a misty afternoon at The Vic.
A Will Atkinson goal was enough to separate the teams in what was a tight encounter but Ronnie Moore's side just failed to find a goal to earn a deserved point.
There was an early blow for Pools as Jordan Hugill looked to suffer an injury to his face in the first minute and, after some treatment down the tunnel, the decision was made to make the substitution. While Hugill had been off the field, Pools faced a real threat on goal as Barry Corr drove into the box to shoot on goal but, with the target in his sights, the Southend striker sent his effort wide of target. With Pools struggling with Hugill off, Ronnie Moore brought Marlon Harewood on in his place and he came on full of enthusiasm, lifting the crowd with a couple of early battles. Pools though failed to really get going in this first half and chances were few and far between and, while Southend edged things in terms of possession, there was little to trouble Flinders at the other end. There was a half-chance for Pools after good work from Michael Duckworth but Brad Walker saw his shot blocked in the box after he did well to buy space on the edge of the area.Flinders had a couple of crosses to collect from Will Atkinson on the right for the visitors but the keeper dealt with the comfortably in the first half. Pools, who had been had seen less of the ball so far, actually finished the first half on top and had their best chance of the game so far in added time. Marlon Harewood picked up possession on the edge of the box and turned neatly to shoot on goal only to see his powerful effort brilliantly turned round the post by visiting keeper Daniel Bentley.Pools looked bright after the break and had an early chance to take the lead as Brad Walker poked the ball through a crowd, which went just narrowly wide of target. But it was the visitors who drew first blood; Pools could not clear a long throw into the box and, with the ball bobbling around for some time, Will Atkinson picked it up in space and sent it past Flinders to make it 1-0 on 53 minutes. Despite going behind, Pools showed a good reaction and started to up their pressure on goal and give visiting keeper Daniel Bentley some work to do. Dan Jones sent a volley at goal following a corner which was blocked on the line and, though it looked to have possibly crossed the line, the arguments were short-lived and play continued. Marlon Harewood saw an effort deflected wide before Jonathan Franks was pushed wide after making a decent run between two defenders. Ronnie Moore made a tactical switch mid-way through the second half, pushing Scott Harrison up front alongside Marlon Harewood in a switch to 4-4-2. And the big defender proved a real handful for Southend with his wholehearted approach, throwing himself forward to try and get Pools back into the game. There was a spell just after 80 minutes when Pools were camped inside the box, with a succession of corners and long-throws testing the Southend defence but despite the solid pressure, there was no breakthrough. Harewood was fed through late on for a shot on goal but, after battling past two defenders, he sent his final effort wide of target under pressure from the defenders.Scott Flinders joined the attack for a late corner as Pools searched desperately for a late point and Lewis Hawkins went agonisingly close with an overhead kick but there was no goal for Pools and the game finished in defeat. Results elsewhere means Pools remain outside of the bottom two, with a big game at York City waiting next Saturday. Full Time: Pools 0 Southend United 1 Attendance: 5393 (257 Southend United) Booked: D Jones (67) Pools: Flinders, Austin, Harrison, Mirfin, D Jones, Duckworth, Featherstone, Walker (Hawkins 57), Tshibola, Franks, Hugill (Harewood 6) Subs Not Used: Maxted, Richards, Nelson-Addy, J Jones, Smith. Southend United: Bentley, White, Bolger, Barrett, Coker, Atkinson, Leaonard, Timlin, McLaughlin (Pigott 67), Corr (Weston 73), Cassidy (Worrall 67). Subs Not Used: T Smith, Payne, Deegan, Binnom-Williams.