Hartlepool United fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Kidderminster Harriers after a second-half strike from Amari Morgan-Smith.
Despite an early sight of goal for Kidderminster, it was Pools that had the first shot on goal. After Anthony Mancini was blocked, Tom Crawford struck a low free-kick wide of the post.
The first shot on target came shortly after, with Ashley Hemmings stinging the gloves of Joel Dixon. Another chance fell their way shortly afterwards, but Sam Bellis’ strike went wayward.
In response, a long-range strike was deflected behind for a corner. From the set piece, the ball was almost scrambled home, but Kidderminster managed to dig it out.
Another Crawford strike followed soon after, and when Christian Dibble could only parry it, Mancini saw his goal bound strike saved, too. At the other end, Hemmings continued to be a threat, but Dixon blocked his near-post shot well.
Pools almost led on the half-hour mark after intricate play from Pools saw Nicky Featherstone get a shot away. The skipper’s shot was on target, but a retreating Penny managed to clear with Dibble beaten.
Next, Pools had a huge shout for a penalty. A long ball from Dixon caught Kidderminster out, and when Courtney Duffus beat the keeper and was dragged down, the referee astounded the Suit Direct by being unmoved.
As the half drew to a close, Pools continued to press Kidderminster, with Duffus firing low after a Mancini through-ball. Just before the whistle, Tom Parkes’ header from a corner briefly troubled Dibble, but the ball floated behind.
Pools started the second half well, with the final pass just eluding Mancini and Duffus within a few minutes. Despite seeing plenty of the ball, clear-cut chances were clear to come by, with a deflected clearance the closest Pools could come.
In the 67th minute, Kidderminster took the lead. A lofted ball into the box was flicked towards goals by Morgan-Smith, and it had enough on it to beat Dixon for the opener.
Little quality transpired in the 10 minutes afterwards, with Bellis’ low strike wide the only highlight.
Callum Cooke, Louis Stephenson and Chris Wreh all joined the action as Pools chased the game, with Duffus, Kieran Wallace and Joe Grey withdrawn.
With a few minutes to go, Pools put together a good passage of play, but Cooke’s speculative effort didn’t trouble Dibble and their visitors survived.
As we ticked into added time, Luke Hendrie saw a great opportunity saved by Dibble, with Kidderminster hanging on to claim the three points.
Pools now look towards York City on Saturday and Kevin Phillips’ first game in the dugout.
Pools: Dixon, Hendrie, Onariase, Parkes, Ferguson, Featherstone, Wallace (Stephenson 77), Mancini, Crawford, Grey (Wreh 81), Duffus (Cooke 70)
Subs (not used): Jameson, Pruti
Attendance: 3,289 (55 Kidderminster)