Ten-man Pools fell to an agonising 2-1 defeat to Barnet on Saturday in a scrappy National League encounter at The Hive.
A swirling wind and bobbly pitch made life difficult for both sides but the task became even trickier for Pools two minutes in the second half when Gavan Holohan was shown a second yellow card.
New Barnet signing Paul McCallum came off the bench to score with his first touch just after the hour but Pools looked to have rescued a point when home defender Dan Sweeney headed Ryan Donaldson’s cross through his own goal.
However, McCallum then turned provided when he muscled his way in to the box to square for Simeon Akinola to win it for the hosts ten minutes from time.
Dave Challinor had named an unchanged starting eleven for the North London contest, with new loan signing Rob Harker handed a place among the substitutes.
Pools almost enjoyed the perfect start when Gavan Holohan nicked possession on the halfway line and released Gime Toure but the Frenchman’s shot was blocked by a defender and the chance evaporated.
Darren Currie’s side settled in to the game as it went along though, with front man Josh Walker looking particularly lively in possession and a threat at times.
Mitch Beeney had to be alert to come off his line and thwart Simeon Akinola as they looked to chase on to a quickly-taken free-kick flighted over the Pools defence.
Pools responded with a well-constructed attack down the right which provided Mark Shelton with enough space to deliver a cross but Aidan Keena just couldn’t rise high enough to direct a header on goal in the middle.
Shelton was causing problems for the home side’s defence though and he delivered another superb ball moments later which flashed through the six-yard box without anyone managing to get a decisive touch.
The Bees had the best chance in first half injury-time when David Tutonda burst in to the box from the left but he lost his footing as he tried to turn away from Timi Odusina and Akinola’s low shot was then wall saved down to his left by Beeney.
The second half got off to the worst possible start when Holohan reached in to a challenge from behind and didn’t quite get the ball – giving the referee a chance to flash a red card at the distraught midfielder.
Pools knew they were going to have to dig in after that but the hosts immediately began to apply some pressure and had a couple of shots blocked as Challinor’s men defended with determination.
Tutonda drove in to the box but then struck the side-netting with his shot, before Akinola lashed a free-kick off the underside of the bar before James Dunne’s follow-up effort was blocked.
Pools almost grabbed an unlikely lead on the counter when Harker – on in place of Aidan Keena – turned superbly on the halfway line and played the ball through for Toure but he fired just over.
McCallum’s introduction from the bench proved another turning point as he was in the right place to turn home a debut goal within a minute of coming on to put the hosts 1-0 up.
Shelton blocked an effort on the line as Barnet looked to press home their advantage as the final quarter-hour approached.
But it was Pools who scored next when Donaldson whipped a vicious ball in from the left and Sweeney could only glance a header past the stranded Loach to gift the visitors an equaliser.
The game was in to the final ten minutes when a long ball over the top found McCallum and he got the space to play a low ball inside for Akinola who swept it across Beeney and in to the bottom corner of the net.
Challinor threw on Luke Molyneux and Josh Hawkes in the closing stages as they chased another leveller but it wouldn’t come and their four-game unbeaten run was brought to an end.
Full Time: Barnet 2 Pools 1
Barnet: Loach, Alexander, Johnson, Reynolds, Dunne, Adams, Akinola (Sparkes 87), Vilhete, Walker (McCallum 62), Tutonda, Sweeney.
Subs not used: Azaze, Fonguck, McBurnie.
Booked: Alexander, Johnson, Dunne.
Pools: Beeney, Southam-Hales, Liddle, Odusina, Kitching, Featherstone (Molyneux 84), Holohan (s/o 48), Shelton (Hawkes 87), Toure, Keena (Harker 51).
Subs not used: Richardson, Mafuta, Hawkes, Molyneux, Harker.
Booked: Odusina, Featherstone.
Attendance: 1,321 (261 Pools).
Referee: Daniel Middleton