A LATE strike from Tamika Mkwandawire consigned Hartlepool to yet another League One defeat and ensured it was another afternoon to forget for the exasperated home support.
Pools had started brightly and debutante Lewis Guy tested the Orient keeper’s reflexes with an arrowing volley, before Andy Monkhouse hooked a shot just wide, before Scott McGleish fashioned the visitors’ first meaningful opportunity when he flashed wide.
With the home side carving out chances for the front-men, the likes of Daniel Nardiello and Joel Porter, were guilty of wasting gilt-edged opportunities. And the hosts were made to pay for their profligacy in comical fashion, when Gary Liddle’s clearance struck Mkwandawire and rebounded into the net with just seven minutes remaining.
Charlie Daniels had lofted a freekick into the sixyard area which had found the head of the unmarked Scott McGleish. When his header was expertly saved from the alert Arran Lee-Barrett, Liddle’s panicked clearance found the head of the onrushing Mkwandawire, and gifted the visitors all three points.
There was to be no fightback this time from Chris Turner’s men, with the concession of the late goal having sucked all spirit and enthusiasm out of the third division strugglers.
Pools boss Turner reserved praise in his postmatch analysis for the much maligned Lee-Barrett, urging supporters to “stop blaming the goalkeeper” and get behind him.
Turner said afterwards: “There are other people who are costing us points but I can’t do anything about it because we haven’t got the competition.”
l Pools: Lee-Barrett, Sweeney, Collins, Nelson, Humphreys, Guy, Liddle, Clark, Monkhouse, Porter, Nardiello.