Pools lost 2-1 to promotion-chasing Accrington Stanley in this evening's League Two match at The Vic.
Craig Hignett had made five changes to his side ahead of the game and his new-look side battled against in-form Stanley.
Accrington Stanley took the lead after just three minutes as skipper Seamus Conneely picked up a loose ball inside the box to volley home past Trevor Carson. The visitors had started the better of the teams, seeing more of the ball while Pools took longer to settle into the game. When Pools did start to pass the ball about, they found the Accrington back line tough to break through. And so it was the visitors who had the more early chances on goal; Billy Kee the first to try his luck from distance with a strike that went over the bar. The visitors employed something of a shoot on sight tactic for a spell, sending in a range of shots from distance with further shots from Kee, Piero Mingoia and Josh Windass all just missing target. Windass sent a teasing ball across the face of goal which found Kee waiting to pounce but his shot from close range landed comfortably in the arms of Carson. With 25 minutes gone, Pools drew level from a corner kick; Jordan Richards sent the kick in from the left and picked out Rakish Bingham at the far post. The former Mansfield striker got good power on his header and made it 1-1. The goal signalled a real end-to-end period of the game, with Pools clearly boosted by the goal. Nathan Thomas started to enjoy more space down the left and he put a couple of decent crosses in to the box, one of which sailed agonisingly across the face of goal without the touch needed to just see it over the line. At the opposite end, Trevor Carson pulled off a great one-handed save to deny Josh Windass who tried his luck with a powerful strike. And with the half-time whistle approaching, the visitors upped their pressure once more, with Bates blocking well from Conneely and Adam Buxton firing wide from outside the box. Mingoia fired in from the edge of the box only to see his shot deflected into the arms of Carson but Stanley were ahead with their next attack. John Coleman’s side re-took the lead on 46 minutes as Windass watched his shot across goal bounce against the far post and back out and, while Jordan Richards tried hard to clear, the lively Tariqe Fosu arrived to fire home to make it 2-1. While Accrington started the second half brighter again, Pools were soon enjoying their fair share of possession in what was quite an open half. Trevor Carson pulled off another strong save to deny Fosu a second as he broke through on goal and referee Mr Martin made his mark on the game as Josh Windass went down inside the box after a challenge from Nickky Featherstone. While the Accrington man looked for the spot kick, the official saw the dive and booked Windass for his efforts. Pools were seeing more than their fair share of the ball but there was little at the end of it to test Ross Etheridge in the visiting goal, with a well-organised Stanely defence proving hard to break through. There was a long-range effort from Adam Jackson who went forward to support the attack but saw it held and fellow defender Matthew Bates was unlucky to see a powerful header saved by the keeper. It was a close second half but there were no further goals and the game finished in defeat for Pools - bringing to an end the run of four straight wins at The Vic. Full Time: Pools 1 Accrington Stanley 2 Attendance: 3445 (181 Accrington Stanley) Pools: Carson, Richards, Bates, Jackson, Carroll, Walker (Featherstone 46), Laurent, Woods, Gray (James), Thomas, Bingham (Oates 82). Subs Not Used: Bartlett, R Jones, Magnay, Nelson-Addy. Accrington Stanley: Etheridge, Pearson, Davies, Mingoia, Windass, Hughes, Conneely, Kee, Halliday, Fosu (McCartan 79), Buxton. Subs Not Used: Mooney, McConville, Barry, Wakefield, Gornell, Boco.