HARTLEPOOL United made a solid start at the Memorial Stadium where Bristol Rovers did not unduly trouble the away defence early on.
The Gas had a fourth-minute corner but no Rovers player couold get a head or foot to the ball.
Pools had their first sight of the home box in the fifth minute when Andy Monkhouse laid the ball off to Jonathan Franks.
But the scorer of last week’s opening goal against Accrington Stanley showed how much better his right foot is when his speculative left-footer went out on the far side for a throw-in.
Michael Duckworth was the player on the park seeing the most of the ball.
Not only did he have the baqll at his feet down the right, he was taking numerous throw ins.
But despite plenty of possession it got Pools no where near the Bristol area.
Rovers had their first attempt at Scott Flinders’ goal in the 14th minute but Mitch Harding flashed his near-post header wide from Andy Bond’s cross.
The match went quiet for a spell but burst into life when Simon Walton brought a flying save out of Steve Mildenhall.
Matty Dolan, Monkhouse and Walton combined cleverly in centre-field before Walton went forward and let fly from 20 yards with Mildenhall denying him with his acrobatics.
Rovers were resorting to long shots but Eliot Richards was a mile wide from 30 yards.
Pools were getting a foothold in the game with a couple of dangerous Jack Compton free-kicks going into the box but with no away player getting on the end of them.
Franks came agonisingly close to giving Pools a 31st-minute lead when his right-foot shot from the edge of the box rebounded back off Mildenhall’s right post with the goalie beaten.
All the good work went to waste as they conceded a goal in the 35th minute.
MATT HARROLD was allowed to turn in the box too easily and his right-foot shot beat Flinders to his right.
But barely had the announcer finished delivering the scorer’s name to the celebrating fans, Pools had levelled straight from the kick-off, JAMES turning and firing in a stunner from 20 yards with Mildenhall no where near it.
Pools won three corners late in the half and following the third, they snatched the lead with JAMES again the scorer.
Franks won the corner and seconds later delivered a great ball over from the right. Christian Burgess made a nuisance of himself on the six-yard box and the ball ran to James who blasted home.
Bristol Rovers 1