Pools’ search for a win stretched to eleven games as Eastleigh twice came from behind to run out 4-3 victors at The Silverlake Stadium on Saturday.
Craig Harrison’s men twice got themselves in to the ascendancy with Michael Woods’ seventh and eighth goals of the season but some sloppy defending allowed The Spitfires back in to it and they went on to claim their fourth successive win.
Pools made two changes with Conor Newton and Tomi Adeloye drafted in to the starting eleven and they were forced to make another before kick-off when Liam Donnelly suffered an injury in the warm-up and was replaced in the centre of defence by Scott Harrison.
Pools stole in front with just nine minutes on the clock when Jake Cassidy did well to keep a ball alive inside the area. Conor Newton played it out wide and it was returned in to the box by Nicky Deverdics straight in to the path of the arriving Michael Woods who stroked it perfectly in to the right corner of the net.
Sam Matthews could have levelled things up when he cut inside from the right in to the area but Scott Harrison came across to block the shot well.
The defender was needed again midway through the half when he flung himself in the way of a close-range effort to deny Eastleigh a leveller after an enormous goalmouth scramble.
However, it was only brief respite for Pools because from the resultant corner the hosts drew level. The ball was whipped in from the left and Sam Togwell’s header was glanced past a helpless Scott Loach by Ayo Obileye.
Pools regained the lead just before the half hour mark when Carl Magnay drove to the right byline and delivered a testing cross to the front post which was met by Deverdics whose glancing header was parried only as far as Woods who reacted quickly to nod home his second of the afternoon.
It could even have been 3-1 a couple of minutes later when Deverdics found Louis Laing from a left-wing corner but the centre-back headed an effort over the bar from six yards.
An incisive through ball sent Ben Williamson in to the penalty area for what looked a great opportunity, but Pools got bodies around him quickly and the front man lost his footing as he tried to shoot and the chance evaporated.
There were a couple of warnings for Pools at the end of the first half before the home side finally got back on level terms in injury time when Zebroski got free at the far post to nod in a right-wing corner.
Woods almost completed his hat-trick within a minute of the restart when Cassidy and Newton did well in the area and the ball dropped loose to him on the edge of the area but his crisp, low drive scraped the post on its way wide.
The in-form star was having another go at goal moments later when he found space to let fly from twenty-five yards but this time the effort was always rising and went over the bar.
Loach had to be alert to block a low shot from Matthews as Eastleigh sprung forward with a slick counter-attack but the Pools keeper did well with his feet to keep the scores level.
The fast start to the second half continued when Blair Adams was set away down the left and his low cross found its way across to Deverdics who hit a powerful drive which was well blocked by the defender.
It was the hosts’ turn to press a minute later when a ball was hung in to the box from the right but young Cav Miley’s header bounced just the wrong side of the post.
Miley brought a good save from Loach with a well-struck drive which was parried but, when the ball came back in to the box from the left, Pools failed to deal with it and it popped up to Zebroski who slammed home a volley from point-blank range.
The Spitfires tightened their grip on the three points with fifteen minutes left when Mark Yeates did well to keep alive a low ball across the Pools’ penalty area and it fell kindly to Zebroski four yards out who had a simple task to smash it in for his hat-trick.
Substitute Devante Rodney could have clawed Pools back in to it with nine minutes left when he let fly with a low drive but Flitney in the Eastleigh goal did well to block it with his feet.
Newton gave Pools hope of a comeback when he was allowed to stride to the edge of the box and unleash a wonderful strike in to the top right-hand corner of the net to make it 4-3 on 88 minutes.
There were appeals for a penalty turned down right at the end for a push on Carl Magnay but the referee not only waved the shouts away but then brandished a second yellow card for the skipper for an alleged handball in the incident.
Full Time: Eastleigh 4 Pools 3
Eastleigh: Flitney, Hoyte, Togwell (Hollands 84), Wood, Yeates (Broom 82), Zebroski, Obileye, Boyce, Miley, Williamson (Constable 74), Matthews.
Subs not used: Cresswell, Shaw.
Pools: Loach, Magnay, Laing, Harrison, Adams, Featherstone, Newton, Woods, Deverdics, Cassidy, Adeloye (Rodney 68).
Subs not used: Catterick, Hawkes, Munns, Hawkins.
Booked: Magnay, Adams, Newton, Cassidy.
Attendance: 2,153 (250 Pools).