HARTLEPOOL United’s scoreless run is fast approaching 10 hours as they trail 1-0 to MK Dons at the break.
In what was a largely uninspiring half of few chances, the Dons took the lead on six minutes courtesy of midfielder Patrick Bamford.
Pools fashioned very little at the other end and, as it stands, John Hughes’ side are eight points from safety with Scunthorpe United leading 2-1 at home to Leyton Orient.
Despite the mundane nature of the opening period, the breakthrough goal was a touch of class from Bamford, the Chelsea loanee collecting possession 20 yards out before dancing between three home shirts and skipping into the area and tucking low beyond Scott Flinders.
Pools lost Tony Sweeney to injury just before the half-hour mark but the arrival of his replacement, teenage striker Luke James, drew the biggest cheer of the first half.
His energy helped create an opening for Jon Franks soon after but his 20-yard drive fizzed wide.
Middlesbrough loanee Charlie Wyke tried his luck from similar range on 33 minutes but he, too, was unable to test Ian McLoughlin in the visiting goal.