MICKY Barron enjoyed his maiden victory in the managerial hotseat as Hartlepool United recorded their first success in five attempts with a 1-0 win at Oldham Athletic.
The caretaker boss had previously presided over a pair of 1-0 defeats, but he reversed that scoreline on Boxing Day thanks to James Poole’s first-half strike.
The visitors made just one change to the side beaten by Colchester United nine days ago with Peter Hartley replacing James Brown and it was they who started brightest.
And, with Oldham down to 10 men – James Wesolowski receiving treatment for a shoulder injury – they seized the opportunity to capitalise, Poole firing Barron’s boys into a 7th-minute lead.
Evan Horwood hung a left-wing cross to the far post and, when Andy Monkhouse nodded down, Poole steamed onto the cushion before smashing in from eight yards for his sixth of the season.
Poole should have had a second moments later when teed up by Tony Sweeney but he lashed over the crossbar from six yards.
There was a let-off at the other end though when Luca Scapuzzi broke clear but Scott Flinders was equal to his chipped effort on 19 minutes.
Jack Baldwin, making his first away start of his Pools career, was enjoying another solid start and it was from his delicate throughball that Sweeney controlled and smashed a thunderous effort against the crossbar on 22 minutes.
That was how the score stayed entering half-time with Pools having seen out the remainder of the opening period in relative comfort.
Ever dangerous on the break, they came within a whisker of doubling their advantage eight minutes after the restart when Monkhouse slid infield from the left before seeing an 18-yard steer bounce narrowly wide.
But on 65 minutes Pools were lucky to survive with their lead intact when a Tom Adeyemi got on the end of a Filipe Morais cross only to slice wide from point-blank range.
Liddle then had a great chance to give his side a bit of breathing space when sprung clear by Poole but the midfielder’s lob bounced the wrong side of the upright with Alex Cisak beaten.
With the home crowd growing increasingly frustrated Pools were able to see out the remainder of the match with minimum fuss and duly arrested a slide of four straight defeats.