A first-half strike was enough for Ebbsfleet United to take all three points on a disappointing afternoon at Victoria Park.
Ebbsfleet United showed their intent from the off as Corey Whitely broke forward inside the first minute to send a low strike at goal which hit the base of the far post and went out of play.
Just two minutes later and the visitors had another chance, this time it was Luke Conlon who found himself space to fire in from the edge of the box but Scott Loach was on alert to tip it over the bar.
Louis Laing was left grounded as Ebbsfleet broke down the right but fortunately Carl Magnay intercepted the cross into the box to deny another effort on goal on six minutes.
Scott Loach was back in action before the tenth minute as Pools looked edgy in these opening minutes; a long throw into the box from the left was picked up by Whitely inside the box. He turned smartly to send a snapshot at goal but Loach reacted well to hold it.
Jake Cassidy looked brightest for Pools in this first half and he did well in his side’s first attack of the game, which saw Michael Woods get a shot in on goal that was held by Nathan Ashmore in the visiting goal.
Blair Adams pushed in from the left just after with a powerful strike in from a tight angle which was also held by Ashmore.
Ebbsfleet United took the lead on 16 minutes though as their pressure finally paid off; Conlon cut inside from the left to send a cross into the box which picked out Dean Rance at the far post in plenty of space and he sent a header past Loach to make it 1-0.
Pools showed a quick response to the goal with pressure at the other end, with Cassidy again doing well in the build-up, but Adams had his powerful cross blocked out by the keeper for a corner. Michael Woods sent in the resulting corner from the left and Louis Laing got there first but he sent his kick high over target.
The majority of the action though happened at the other end of the pitch as Ebbsfleet looked to add to their tally in a 45 minutes the visitors dominated.
Loach parried well from a Conlon strike into the box, while the visitors sent the rebound over the bar.
Whitely should have scored on 22 minutes when he broke through on goal with only Loach to beat but with the target in his sights, he blasted his effort wide.
Conlon was back on the attack shortly after, this time forcing his way up the left flank to cut into the box and fire in from a narrow angle but fortunately Loach was there again to save.
A Blair Adams corner from the right gave Pools an opening just before the half-hour mark but Michael Woods’ shot from the penalty spot went over the bar.
The wind swirling around inside The Vic added to the problems for Pools and there was a real scramble as the lively Conlon crossed into the box once more but again Whitely send his shot high.
Pools were fortunate in the end to go in just 1-0 down at the break and still in with a chance to get something from the game.
There was a higher tempo from both sides early in the second and Pools looked at have a bit more bite about them for a spell.
Carl Magnay had a strike at goal which was parried by Ashmore but then Cassidy arrived to smash the rebound low at goal only to again be denied by the visiting keeper who also managed to deny Woods on the line as Pools looked to grab an equaliser.
A long-throw from Scott Harrison bounced its way through to Michael Woods on the edge of the area but his strike back through the box went wide of the far post.
Harrison’s throw caused problems again at the back for Ebbsfleet, this time picking out sub Conor Newton at the far post. Newton got a glance on the ball to nod it goalwards but Ashmore got down well to hold the effort.
Pools were putting plenty of pressure on the Ebbsfleet goal as the second half progressed, with plenty of action inside the final third. But with Ashmore strong in goal for the visitors, Bates’ side couldn’t find a way through.
And while it was an improved second-half display from Pools, there was no way back from the first-half goal conceded and the game finished in defeat for Matthew Bates' side.
Full Time: Pools 0 Ebbsfleet United 1
Booked: Rodney (4), Magnay (47), George (63)
Attendance: 2895 (98 Ebbsfleet United)
Pools: Loach, Magnay, Harrison, Laing, Adams, Featherstone, George (Hawkins 75), Woods, Rodney (Newton 61), Cassidy, Oates.
Subs Not Used: Catterick, Hawkes, Owen.
Ebbsfleet United: Ashmore, Connors, Rance, Winfield, Clark, Drury, Kedwell, Payne, Magri, Conlon (Shields 73), Whitely (Weston 89).
Subs Not Used: Powell, Miles, Bush.