Ten-man Pools suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season despite a performance full of character at high-flying Wrexham on Tuesday night.
Down by a goal and a man at half-time following Andrew Davies’ sending-off, few gave Pools a hope of recovering but while they couldn’t find an all-important equaliser, their second half performance will have provided plenty of positive for Matthew Bates and the 121 travelling fans.
Bates opted to shake things up by making two changes for the trip to North Wales; Myles Anderson returned in defence with Peter Kioso freed in to a right wing-back role, Ryan Donaldson on the left and Marcus Dinanga handed a first start in attack.
Pools gave as good as they got in the early stages though it was the hosts who had the first shot in anger when Luke Young found space to fire a shot on goal which Scott Loach parried and Jordan Maguire-Drew headed over from the rebound.
Wrexham keeper Rob Lainton was then called in to action when Davies precise long ball found Marcus Dinanga who brilliantly took the ball on his chest before twisting on to his right foot and drilling a low shot which was well kept out by the home stopper at his near post.
Davies got on the end of the resultant corner with a powerful header which was blocked on the line and then ricocheted around the area before fortuitously landing in the hands of a grateful Lainton.
At the other end a heavy touch by the usually reliable Nicky Featherstone allowed Akil Wright a chance on goal but he sent a shot just wide with Loach rooted to the spot.
Dinanga almost bullied his way through on goal moments later, getting the better of Shaun Pearson only for the Wrexham skipper’s centre-back partner Jake Lawlor to rescue the situation with a recovery tackle.
On 21 minutes it was the hosts who drew first blood when out of nowhere Young let fly with a low shot which somehow deceived Loach and squirmed from his grasp and in to the net.
Pools reacted with spirit though and could have been on level terms when the dangerous Ryan Donaldson drove in from the left and drilled a shot at goal which Lainton did well to turn round his near post.
Davies then saw red following a tussle with Stuart Beavon on the halfway line. The Wrexham forward looked to roll on top of the Pools skipper after the pair fell to the floor together and that drew a reaction from Davies who was given his marching orders within a flash by referee Martin Woods.
It could have got worse for Pools just before the break when Maguire-Drew wriggled his way in to the penalty area but Peter Kioso got back on the line to clear his shot away with Loach beaten.
Up against it, Pools came out fighting after the break – and anxiety levels grew to such an extent that home supporters were left to vent their anger on their own players during a nervy 45 minutes for The Dragons.
Pools kept the ball well, moved it around swiftly and began to go at their opponents, Liam Noble firing a warning when his long-range drive caught Lainton by surprise and he just about managed to parry it round the post.
Bates’ men continued to probe and the introduction of Luke James and Conor Newton added further fuel as they pushed the home side on to the back foot.
James almost grabbed a deserved leveller as injury-time was signalled when he got in on the left side of the area but his low drill was brilliantly blocked by Lainton.
Donaldson came even closer right at the death when he once again cut inside from the left and smashed a shot which grazed the roof of the net as it flew over.
Applause from the visiting fans at the end told the story – defeat here at The Racecourse Ground but plenty for Pools to carry with them in to Saturday’s game at Bromley.
Full Time: Wrexham 1 Pools 0
Booked: McLaughlin (8), Anderson (81), Magnay (90), Donaldson, Kioso.
Attendance: 4665 (121 Pools)
Wrexham: Lainton, Roberts, Jennings, Pearson, Young, Pyke, Maguire-Drew (Deverdics 85), Walker (Rutherford 81), Wright, Beavon (Fondop 58), Lawlor.
Subs Not Used: Dibble, Holroyd, Deverdics.
Pools: Loach, Magnay, Davies, Anderson, Kioso, Donaldson, Featherstone (Newton 66), McLaughlin (Hawkes 82), Noble, Muir (James 66), Dinanga.
Subs Not Used: Kitching, Hawkins.