Ronnie Moore's side lost out 3-1 to an impressive Accrington Stanley side in tonight's rearranged fixture at The Wham Stadium.
Pools were second best for the majority of the game as Accrington Stanley put on a show for their home supporters after a two-month gap without a fixture here at The Wham Stadium.
With former Pools loanee Matt Crooks pulling the strings from his position in central midfield, Moore’s side struggled to find their way into the game for the first forty-five minutes.
Pools struggled to get a touch on the ball for the opening ten minutes of the game as the hosts started at real pace.
Trevor Carson was again the hero for Pools as he first pulled off a great save from Crooks who tried an early left-footed curler at goal.
The Pools keeper followed this up with top-drawer saves from both Sean McConville and Shay MacCarten.
Nicky Featherstone got himself in the way to block a shot from McConville who got on the end of a fast break to fire on goal.
Accrington worked so hard off the ball, battling to get the ball back whenever they lost it that there was no margin at all for error from Moore’s men.
Another former Pools loanee Bradley Halliday showed his pace down the right as he pushed forward to cross in for McCartan to try again on goal but his header was again saved by Carson.
The first goal came on 24 minutes; a lovely freekick from Adam Buxton just outside the area sailed over the wall and crashed against the underside of the bar before hitting the net.
Pools had a couple of flashes of encouragement following the goal with hard work from Rhys Oates set up Ellis Harrison down the right and he won Pools’ first corner of the game.
Jordan Richards sent the corner into the box and Ellis Harrison arrived to power a header at goal only to see it crash against the post and come back into play where the hosts cleared.
Accrington hit the post themselves on 38 minutes, also from a corner and it was Piero Mingoia who saw his effort through a crowded area hit the woodwork.
The second goal came just on half time as Shay McCartan pushed on, turned the Pools defence inside out to go through a hit a low shot past Carson to make it 2-0.
It was a very strong first-half display from Accrington but Pools needed to find more after the break to avoid further punishment.
With no changes at the break, the second half got underway and the hosts were soon back on the attack – this time it was a Billy Kee shot from a freekick that pulled a good save from Carson.
On 58 minutes, Accrington made it 3-0 and again did it in style; a lovely flick-on by Kee allowed McCartan to break into the box and shoot low past Carson and into the bottom corner of the net.
Ronnie Moore made three changes just after the hour mark and two of the subs combined for Pools’ first effort of the second half; Rakish Bingham used his pace down the left to play in Lewis Hawkins who fired at goal but his effort was saved by Jason Mooney.
Pools saw more of the ball following the changes and two of the subs again combined to get a goal back on 77 minutes; Jake Gray pushed his was into the final third before slotting the ball through for Rakish Bingham and he unleashed a great strike that sailed past the keeper and into the opposite corner.
Bingham, who made a difference for Pools, had another chance to score late in the game as he pushed into the box, he took a tumble under pressure from the defender and the chance went.
Although Pools finished the game with their best spell, it proved too late to have any impact on a game that had been otherwise dominated by the hosts and the game finished 3-1 to Accrington Stanley.
Full Time: Accrington Stanley 3 Pools 1
Att: 1211 (85 Pools)
Booked: Thomas (33), Richards (81)
Accrington Stanley: Mooney, Pearson, Mingoia, McConville (Procter 90), Crooks, Wright, McCartan (Bruna 83), Conneely, Kee (Gornell 75), Halliday, Buxton.
Subs Not Used: Barry, Davies, Wakefield, Etheridge.
Pools: Carson, Richards, S Harrison, Jackson, Carroll, Oates, Featherstone, Woods (Gray 64), Thomas (Hawkins 61), E Harrison, Fenwick (Bingham 61).
Subs Not Used: Bartlett, Jones, Walker, Smith.