Pools fell to a 2-1 home defeat to Bromley at The Super 6 Stadium this afternoon, the first loss in Craig Hignett's latest spell as Manager.
But while the Pools boss will be disappointed with the result, much of the post-match discussion will centre around the performance not of either team, but of the match officials.
Pools started the game brightly and had an early chance to open things up when Ryan Donaldson and Niko Muir combined to set up Josh Hawkes for a shot from distance. The youngster fired in low on goal but was denied by a good save from visiting keeper David Gregory.
Aaron Cunningham rose well to meet the following corner but his header went just wide of the far post.
Bromley had their fair share of possession early on without really testing Scott Loach but it was Pools who looked a bigger threat going forward for a spell.
A Liam Noble freekick in from the right picked out Peter Kioso in the box but the defender saw his headed effort go wide of target. Josh Hawkes tried his luck with a low effort from distance but his shot bobbled the wrong side of the post.
Kioso made a good interception at one end to deny Omar Bugiel from playing in Luke Coulson and then lifted a pacy ball over the top for Nicke Kabamba to chase. The on-loan striker did well to get a touch on the ball but it bounced up off the defender and out for a corner.
On the half-hour mark, the visitors made their attack count as they took the lead through Marc-Anthony Okoye; a long throw from George Porter on the left was cleared only as far out as Okoye at the near post and he executed a neat half-volley to send the ball past Loach and into the opposite corner of the net.
And from then on in, the visitors looked strongest; there was a let-off for Pools on 40 minutes as Bromley broke forward leaving Cunningham with two men to cover but fortunately JJ Hooper mis-controlled his pass and the ball went out of play.
Pools were not so lucky with the visitors’ next attack as Luke Coulson broke through to lift a lovely effort over Loach and into the back of the net to make it 2-0 on the stroke of half time.
Scott Loach made a good save just before the break to deny the visitors a third goal, and the Pools keeper was back in action quickly after the re-start as he got down well to block from Porter from close range on 50 minutes.
The match officials’ influence on the game continued into the second half, with frustration at the range of decisions growing both on the pitch and in the stands.
Omar Bugiel fired a shot high over the bar from just six yards out when the visitors looked set to make it 3-0 on the hour mark.
But it was Pools who had the majority of the possession and Hignett went all-out attack to try and push his side back into the game.
There was pressure on the visiting goal with 15 minutes left as Pools put bodies into the box but as the ball bobbled around, no one could get a clear shot away and Bromley were able to clear.
While Pools did have the possession, they struggled to find a way past Bromley who were well organised and sitting deep in numbers to defend their lead.
Nicke Kabamba came desperately close to getting a goal on 86 minutes when Luke Molyneux got free down the left to cross into the box but despite going out at full stretch, the big striker just couldn’t make contact and the ball rolled across the face of goal.
Liam Noble fired home from distance to make it 2-1 mid-way through six minutes of added time at the end of the game but it just came too late to make a difference and the game finished in defeat.
Full Time: Pools 1 Bromley 2
Attendance: 2985 (55 Bromley)
Booked: Cunningham (10), Kioso (61), Kabamba (88)
Pools: Loach, Donaldson, Kioso, Cunningham (Kitching 66), Anderson, Amos (Molyneux 46), Featherstone, Noble, Hawkes, Muir (Hawkins 79), Kabamba.
Subs Not Used: Richardson, Scott.
Bromley: Gregory, Sutherland, Raymond, Bugiel (Higgs 71), Okoye, Goodman, Porter (Philpott 86), Wood, Brindley, Coulson, Hooper (Johnson 90).
Subs Not Used: Sarpong-Wiredu, Dunne.