Pools got back to winning ways as Billy Paynter’s first half goal was enough to see them collect all three points from Saturday’s visit to Dagenham & Redbridge.
Ronnie Moore’s men were made to work hard for the points and had to rely on some good fortune at times, particularly in the second half, but did enough to end a run of three successive defeats at the expense of The Daggers.
Moore delivered on his promise to make changes for the game; Trevor Carson came in for his debut in goal, while Luke Hendrie and Magnus Okunghae debuted in defence after joining on loan this week.
Dan Jones was preferred at left-back which freed Jake Carroll to play in a more advanced role on the left flank, and Brad Walker was partnered with Nicky Featherstone in the centre of midfield.
Pools looked to get the hosts on the front foot from kick-off and Rhys Oates drove at the home defence and when the ball popped out to Jake Carroll twenty-five yards out he stung a drive just wide of target.
That seemed to shock The Daggers who responded by getting on the ball themselves and could have gone in front when Ashley Chambers seized on a loose ball twenty-five yards out but drove a low shot just wide of the post.
Jake Mulraney was looking handful on the left-wing for the hosts and his wicked cross found Ashley Hemmings in the middle but he couldn’t find the right connection to trouble Carson who was happy to collect the ball.
Justin Hoyte was linking-up well from left-back and he could have opened the scoring when he drove in field with determination but his fierce shot was well held by Carson.
While Dagenham were enjoying a shade more of the possession, Pools continued to look a threat when they got the ball forward to Paynter and particularly Bingham, whose pace was unsettling centre-backs Nyron Nosworthy and teen debutant Josh Pask.
Pools made good on their threat on 34 minutes when Dan Jones fizzed a perfect ball from the left over the Daggers defence where Paynter dropped off at the far post and nodded a beautifully lobbed finish over keeper Liam O’Brien and in to the net.
Kane Ferdinand had a half chance to level things up before the break when Mulraney’s cross was cleared to him at the edge of the box but he volleyed his effort down in to the ground and it bounced just wide with Carroll scrambling.
Pools were quicker out of the traps after the break and Bingham nearly made Dagenham pay for some hesitant defending when he chased down a high ball forward. After winning possession he fed Carroll on the left who then crossed for Paynter who nodded back in to Bingham’s path but the striker fired over from close range with the offside flag raised to spare his blushes.
Oates embarked on a brilliant run from the edge of his own box which almost led to a second goal; after jinking his way skilfully through the Dagenham traffic he slid in Bingham but Nosworthy got back to put in an excellent block.
The Daggers responded by creating their best chance of the game when Jamie Cureton escaped through the middle but his finishing let him down and his attempted lob fell in to the arms of Carson.
The hosts began to enjoy more possession and put Pools under more pressure, though Moore’s men continued to pose a threat on the counter-attack, Oates heading a Carroll cross just over the bar.
Okuonghae could have marked an impressive debut with a goal of his own when he met Carroll’s left-wing corner firmly with his head but the ball flew just wide of the post.
Dangerous half time substitute Jodi Jones helped Dagenham come close to finding a leveller when his low ball was sliced narrowly over his own cross bar by a relieved Harrison.
Okuounghae continued to lead by example at the back when he got just enough on another dangerous Jones’ delivery to divert it away from Cureton and Hendrie was able to hack it clear.
Full-back Josh Passley escaped the attentions of Carroll to race on to a through ball on the right but when he squared the ball across goal Cureton could only scuff his effort wide of the target as time ran out on the hosts
It was by no means the slickest performance of the season from Pools but they ground out a crucial victory which now gives them a solid platform to attack back-to-back home games in the coming week.
Final Score: Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Pools 1
Att: 1771 (200 Pools)
Dagenham & Redbridge: O’Brien, Passley, Nosworthy, Pask, Hoyte, Raymond (Sutherland 73), Ferdinand, Mulraney (Jones 46), Chambers (McClure 67), Hemmings, Cureton.
Subs Not Used: Connors, Dikamona, Doidge, Cousins.
Pools: Carson, Hendrie, Harrison, Okuonghae, Jones (Banton 74), Oates (Bates 94), Featherstone, Walker, Carroll, Paynter, Bingham (Woods 82).
Subs not used: Bartlett, Boyce, Oyenuga, Fenwick.