Pools fell to their third successive league defeat as Wycombe Wanderers went top of the table with a 2-1 victory at Adams Park on Saturday afternoon.
Ronnie Moore’s side ended the game with ten men after Carl Magnay – who had earlier scored his first goal for the Club – was shown a red card following tangle with Wanderers substitute Ryan Sellers.
Pools shaped up in a 4-4-2 with Jake Carroll in a more advanced role on the left and Rhys Oates providing pace down the right; Magnay reverted to right-back, while Billy Paynter and Michael Wods both returned to the line-up.
It was an open contest from the off and the chances began coming quickly, with both sides playing their part in a captivating contest.
With pace down both flanks for both teams, counter-attacking football came to the fore and it was Wanderers who almost profited early on when Jason Banton broke to feed Garry Thompson down the left but his deep cross was volleyed wide by Michael Harriman.
Thompson was causing problems with his running and he got in behind again moments later and this time he took the shot on but he dragged it wide of the far post.
Then it was Pools’ turn to have a go and Dan Jones’ long throw caught the Wycombe defence out and allowed Rakish Bingham to tee up Jake Carroll whose right-footed drive drew a good save from Matt Ingram.
Harriman slid another effort just off target before Jones tested Ingram from long-range and then Paul Hayes volleyed over from close range as the ball dropped to him ten yards out.
The tempo of the first half rarely threatened to drop and Thompson again got away for Wanderers and this time he took the shot on early but Adam Bartlett was down quickly to turn the ball round the post.
From the resultant corner Carroll had to produce some quick reactions to clear the ball off the line after Hayes had flicked an effort goalwards from six yards.
Woods created more work for Ingram when the ball popped out to him on the edge of the box but his looping volley was pawed round the post by the home keeper.
On 26 minutes Pools were undone by a long ball forward to the edge of their box; Paul Hayes was able to flick it on and Michael Harriman arrived to drill the ball low in to the bottom corner of the net.
Pools responded positively to the setback; Paynter linked-up well with Bingham on the edge of the box to free Oates in to the area but Danny Rowe got across to block his effort for a corner.
From the resultant corner Paynter was able to get above his marker but his powerful header was cleared off the line with Ingram rooted to the spot.
However, Pools were building up a head of steam and were on level terms when Magnay opened his account with a wonderful finish at the end of flowing move. The full-back stormed on to possession on the halfway line and played it in to the edge of the box to
Bingham who returned it in to Magnay’s path who then weaved between two defenders and scooped the ball over Ingram.
It could have got better for Pools before the break when Sido Jombati undercooked a back header and Paynter scampered on to it only to blast his effort off the front of the post from a tight angle.
The second half was a more competitive affair and had fewer chances; Dan Jones powered a free-kick in to the wall as Pools were first to threaten.
Just before the hour mark, Pools allowed Wanderers to go back in front. A long ball forward was nodded down by Thompson to Harriman on the right and the winger cut inside and sent a left-footed shot on goal which deflected up and over the stranded Adam Bartlett.
Oates had a wonderful chance to level it up after trading passes with Bingham and running in to the box but his shot wasn’t powerful enough to get past Ingram who was able to parry and collect.
In the closing stages, Magnay got involved in a tussle with Wanderers substitute Ryan Sellers and the pair fell to the ground. The referee didn’t seem to have had a good view but appeared to take advice from the sidelines before showing a straight red to the Pools man.
After that it was made easier for the hosts to see the game out and they held on for an eighth straight win over Pools to hit the top of League Two.
Full Time: Wycombe Wanderers 2 Pools 1
Attendance: 3468 (187 Pools)
Booked: Woods (48), Bingham (77), Oyeuga (90)
Sent Off: Magnay (86)
Wycombe Wanderers: Ingram, Jombati, Jacobson, Donacien, Rowe, Harriman, Bean, O'Nien, Banton (Sellers 75), Thompson, Hayes (Kretzschmar. 61).
Subs Not Used: Lynch, McGinn, Bloomfield,
Pools: Bartlett, Magnay, Harrison, Worley, Jones (Oyenuga 69), Oates (Smith 80), Woods, Featherstone, Carroll, Bingham, Paynter (Fenwick 58).
Subs Not Used: Denton, Boyce, Hawkins, Nelson-Addy.