Pools’ five-game unbeaten run came to an end as Eastleigh ran out 2-1 winners at Victoria Park this afternoon.
Craig Harrison’s side dominated much of the possession but found themselves frustrated against solid and compact opponents.
It was Pools who had the large majority of the ball in the first half, passing it about nicely and putting some decent passages of play together. But when it came to getting into the final third, they found the Eastleigh back line difficult to break through.
With Franks and Donaldson both trying to get crosses into the box, they found only the heads of the imposing visiting defence.
And when Donaldson, who was bright for Pools this afternoon, did break through to get a shot on goal, his effort went high over the bar.
Lewis Hawkins then fed the ball in for Donaldson who was waiting just to the right of the post; he in turn sent a low cross through the centre of goal but it just missed the arriving Oates and went out wide.
Eastleigh had their first and only spell of pressure late in the first half; with a scrappy spell on the edge of the box but their final shot on goal, which was dealt with by Loach, was offside and any danger soon passed.
After dominating the first half, Pools went into the second forty-five needing to find a way to break down a compact Eastleigh side – but things were quite quickly made more difficult for Harrison’s side.
Eastleigh came out quickly after the break and pulled a great save from Scott Loach, with the big keeper getting down really well to send a Gary McSheffrey freekick wide of target.
But Pools were not as fortunate from the resulting corner as the ball in saw a scramble inside the box and, with the hosts failing to clear, Callum Howe forced the ball home to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Rhys Oates went closest for Pools straight after the goal, rising well to meet a Nicky Deverdics cross but his header went wide of the far post.
And it was Eastleigh who were next to find the back of the net with a great strike from Mark Yeates, who fired a powerful half-volley through the area and into the back of the net to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
The two substitutes introduced by Harrison in the second half both had good chances to get Pools back into the game; Rodney got through with just Stack to beat but saw his effort blocked by the experienced keeper before Simpson ran into the box and tried to guide his shot past the keeper but sent it just over the bar.
But after a decent spell of pressure from Pools, Eastleigh started to see more of the ball again and Harrison’s side found themselves frustrated and unable to get the ball forward.
There were a couple of half-chances before Pools got one back; Rodney again got through to shoot on goal but the effort was held by Stack, while Jack Munns fired just over with a shot from the edge of the box.
The goal eventually came on 90 minutes as Munns tried his luck again, this time firing a low effort from just inside the area that beat stack to make it 2-1 and set up a more exciting period of four minutes added time.
Rodney had another chance to beat Stack and grab a goal late in added time but again the Eastleigh keeper came out on top as he blocked the shot.
And it just wasn't to be for Pools who ran out of time to find a second goal and now go into next weekend's match at Woking looking to kick-start another unbeaten run of games.
Full Time: Pools 1 Eastleigh 2
Booked: Rodney (70)
Attendance: 3374 (68 Eastleigh)
Pools: Loach, Magnay, Laing, Donnelly, Deverdics, Feathertsone, Hawkins (Rodney 58), Woods, Donaldson (Munns 77), Oates (Simpson 54), Franks.
Subs Not Used: Adams, Richardson.
Eastleigh: Stack, Wood, Constable, Yeates (Matthews 78), Zebroski (McAllister 72), Obileye, Hollands (Strevens 69), Boyce, Cavanagh, Howe, McSheffrey.
Subs Not Used: Reid, Stearn.