Pools fell to their first defeat of the season as Ebbsfleet United got the only goal in a tight game to take all three
Matthew Bates's side had their fair share of chances in the game but it was the visitors who made theirs count when Corey Whitely hit the net late in the second half.
Pools burst out of the blocks at the start of the game, with two half-chances in the first couple of minutes; Jake Cassidy stole possession to push forward but the defender intercepted the final ball through to Luke James, while Mark Kitching poked one wide after good work from Niko Muir.
But Ebbsfleet were quick to show their teeth at the other end and on 4 minutes the lively Sean Shields burst down the left wing, jinking his way past a number of blue shirts to fire a shot at goal at the near post. Scott Loach blocked the effort comfortably but it was a good break from the visitors.
Shields was involved again shortly after as he sent a teasing cross in from the left but Andrew Davies was there to powerfully head clear.
In what was a real entertaining start to the game, Pools were soon back on the attack and when Liam Noble sent a corner into the box from the right, Davies showed he was a force at the other end too, meeting the ball on the volley, but his shot went just wide.
Peter Kioso joined the attack on the quarter hour mark, forcing his way forward down the left and sending a low cross square into the box. Noble touched it on for Paddy McLaughlin, making his full debut this afternoon, but the midfielder’s shot was easy for Nathan Ashmore to hold.
Jake Cassidy headed wide of the post after a good ball in by the influential Noble, while Noble set up Luke James just after and he had a fierce strike at goal which scraped wide of the near post.
With only 20 minutes having passed, Danny Kedwell got down the right and sent a lovely ball across the face of goal which went untested but showed Pools the threat of the visitors on the break.
Jack Powell fired a shot in from distance shortly after which was held comfortably by Loach.
At the other end, Noble lifted a freekick over the top for Davies who got in there to send a header at goal but his effort landed on the roof of the net.
And, after such a busy first half to the opening 45 minutes, the second saw a little less action, with few real chances at either end.
Bates’s side had plenty of work to do at the back but remained a threat going forward, with the forward three looking lively for Pools.
The second half kicked off with the scores still all square but Pools came out brightly again and were soon on the attack, with Luke James forcing his way down the right, skipping around Jack King and then winning his side an early corner.
Kenton Richardson sent the ball up for Cassidy who flicked it on for Luke James to try a volleyed effort at goal but the shot went over the bar.
There was a blow for Pools ten minutes into the half when skipper Andrew Davies went down injured and had to be replaced.
The visitors enjoyed a spell of possession around the hour mark as Pools looked on the back foot slightly for a period.
Pools were back on the attack on 70 minutes though when Muir put the ball across goal, Kitching headed it back into the middle where James sent a volley just wide.
But Ebbsfleet pounced just seconds later, pushing up field and taking the lead; Kedwell used his experience and strength to feed the ball in to sub Corey Whitely and he sent the ball past Loach to make it 1-0.
McLaughlin was denied an almost instant equaliser for Pools as he saw his header from close range somehow kept out by Ashmore, who palmed it away with an acrobatic save.
Pools showed a positive response to going behind and pushed on to try and find the equaliser but Ebbsfleet were well organised and confident and made things difficult for Bates’s side.
The addition of six additional minutes gave Pools more opportunity to find a leveller but Fleet were in no mood to give up the lead and the game finished in defeat.
Full Time: Pools 0 Ebbsfleet United 1
Attendance: 3182 (84 Ebbsfleet United)
Pools: Loach, Magnay, Davies (Laing 56), Kioso (Newton 90), Richardson, McLaughlin, Noble, Kitching, Muir, James, Cassidy (Dinanga 67).
Subs Not Used: Donaldson, Featherstone.
Ebbsfleet United: Ashmore, King, Magri, Powell, Adams (Whitely 61), Kedwell (Payne 79), Drury, Weston, McQueen (Cheek 67), Shields, Bush.
Subs Not Used: Miles, Coulson.