HARTLEPOOL United’s search for a first goal of the season rumbles on as they were beaten 2-0 at Notts County.
Neale Cooper’s men were lethargic from the off and got exactly what they deserved as goals from Francois Zoko and Neale Bishop saw home a comfortable victory for The Magpies.
A disjointed opening to the game owed much to the unrelenting rain which begun an hour before kick-off and neither side appeared comfortable with conditions.
But it was County who found their feet sooner than Pools and they duly took the lead on 16 minutes.
Julian Kelly’s floated cross should not have presented too much of a danger to the visitors, but Zoko climbed highest amid a sea of bodies to steer a 10-yard header into the bottom corner.
It should have been two when slack marking afforded Lee Hughes the freedom of the six-yard area from Alan Sheehan’s free-kick but the striker could only glance into the palms of a relieved Scott Flinders.
Lee Hughes again went close on 35 minutes when he scampered free in behind the Pools backline.
The sodden surface slowed his progress but a low drive from 20 yards could only be palmed clear by Flinders who had to be quick to snaffle the loose ball from the fast-closing Jeff Hughes.
Neale Cooper acted at the break and Paul Murray replaced James Poole.
And, within 10 minutes, Pools had carved their first opening of the game, Jon Franks finding the forehead of Steve Howard but his header, from 10 yards, was always lacking the direction to trouble Bartosz Bialkowski.
At the other end Alan Judge stung the palms of Flinders with a rasping drive from distance on the hour mark.
Pools’ second-half rally soon faded and Lee Hughes went close with a deft curler as County reasserted their superiority.
And a sorry night for the visitors was complete when Bishop seized upon Lee Hughes’ headed knockdown to prod home on 86 minutes.