HARTLEPOOL United failed to break down 10-man Southend United as they were beaten 1-0 at Victoria Park.
Colin Cooper’s side had the entirety of the second half to reverse Freddie Eastwood’s early opener after visiting striker Barry Corr was sent off just before the break.
But, despite periods of sustained pressure, they were unable to draw parity and have now begun life in League with a pair of defeats.
The Shrimpers made an enterprising start and Christian Burgess had to be on his toes to prevent a first-minute concession as Eastwood escaped in behind the home backline, the Middlesbrough loanee recovering to slide and disposses.
But Eastwood had his goal on five minutes when Darren Holden’s weak clearance landed at the feet of Will Atkinson on the edge of the area.
He drove to the by-line before squaring for his team-mate who turned home from six yards.
Jack Compton chanced his luck with a free-kick from range but, despite locating the top corner, goalkeeper Daniel Bentley, however, had read his intention and was able to claw clear.
Pools lost skipper Antony Sweeney to a leg injury on 18 minutes and he was replaced by Simon Walton.
Bentley was again called upon to defend his side’s lead when James Poole took aim from 20 yards, the netminder launching his frame towards the bottom corner before gloving to safety.
Poole was proving Pools’ best bet in the final third and from his trickery and far-post cross Jon Franks controlled before seeing his 10-yard blast blocked inside the six-yard area.
The hosts were in the ascendancy and Poole drew a fine, flying save from Bentley when unleashing a 20-yard volley.
Brad Walker was next to have a go and his 20-yarder sailed wide with Bentley worried.
Southend were then reduced in number when Corr was involved in an off-the-ball incident with Jack Baldwin.
Pools were very quickly on the offensive after the break and Poole drew wide from 25 yards.
Steve Howard entered the action on 63 minutes as replacement for Luke James, the reaction for the incoming striker somewhat mixed among the home crowd.
But it was Southend who threatened next as Burgess was robbed by Eastwood with his pass freeing Atkinson.
The winger strode into the area but his goal-bound blast was blocked by a sliding Holden.
Pools were unable to fashion any more clear-cut chances as the game drew towards its conclusion with Southend penned inside their own penalty area.