A moment of magic from Anthony Mancini fired Hartlepool United to a 1-0 victory at Ebbsfleet United on the day Kevin Phillips was named as the new Pools boss.
The Frenchman’s spectacular winner on the hour at the Kuflink Stadium will have delighted the watching Phillips, whose appointment was announced just minutes ahead of kick-off.
Courtney Duffus was not far away early on and a glorious chance presented itself when Ebbsfleet made a mess of an attempted clearance, but Mancini flashed his left-footed shot just wide of the post stick.
Pools dominated the opening stages and they had another sight of the Fleet goal when presented with a free-kick. With Callum Cooke absent, Tom Crawford stepped forward and saw his attempt just wide of Mark Cousins’s left post.
There was another opportunity in the 28th minute when Joe Grey got in behind the away defence from a terrific ball by Luke Hendrie but the forward’s shot was a tame one and comfortably saved by Cousins.
Ebbsfleet, who went into the contest occupying the fourth relegation spot, finally grew into the game and enjoyed their best spell before the break. However, Joel Dixon was equal to two Darren McQueen efforts from the right flank.
David Ferguson, who put in a terrific shift down the left, won possession on the hour mark and when Mancini was given the ball, there was only one thing in his sights - the home goal. His strike was sweet and the outcome stunning as his 30-yard effort went in via the crossbar to open the scoring.
There was the occasional scare as Pools held on in the dying stages, specially after Omari Sterling-James was introduced and he got on the ball on the right. One delivery flashed across the face of the goal but, thankfully, no one in red was there to convert.
Pools, with Tom Parkes and Manny Onariase rocks at the back, stood firm and the points returned with them to the North East.
Pools: Dixon, Hendrie, Onariase, Parkes, Ferguson, Wallace, Featherstone, Crawford, Mancini (Stephenson 80), Grey, Duffus (Wreh 86)
Subs (not used): Jameson, Pruti, Dolan
Goals: Mancini (60)