MARVIN Morgan’s first goal for Hartlepool United secured a much-needed win against in-form Northampton Town to close the gap to safety to six points.
The 31-year-old showed a cool head in the 51st minute to secure a third consecutive home win for Ronnie Moore’s Pools side.
It was an enthralling second-half and Pools had to withstand a mountain of pressure late on from a Northampton side that had won the last five.
But they held firm to close the gap to safety to six points.
Thick fog engulfed Victoria Park an hour before kick-off but it had lifted by the time kick-off came.
It was a tight start to proceedings, with Pools enjoying the lions share of possession without carving out too many clear cut chances.
Jack Compton, restored to the side having been dropped from the matchday squad at Portsmouth, looked lively and as if he had a point to prove.
He flashed an effort well wide in the early stages.
Northampton dangerman Jonh-Joe O’Toole had the game’s first attempt on target but his half volley had no power or direction behind it and Flinders gathered easily.
Compton, who looked bright on the left wing in the opening stages, then had a penalty appeal turned away by County Durham official Nigel Miller.
In the 20th minute Brendan Moloney upended him in the box but it looked weak despite Compton’s strong appeals.
The left-winger was again involved seven minutes later, flashing a low shot just wide of Matt Duke’s goal after David Mirfin knocked the ball down to him.
Ten minutes before the break, Northampton’s Marc Richards found himself with his first sight on goal.
Quick-thinking Mirfin was across quickly to make the block in front of the Town End.
Further chances of note were scarce in a half lacking in any real quality.
It was a far livelier start to proceedings in the second half, with Lawson D’Ath forcing Flinders into a smart block at his near post.
In the 51st minute, Pools took the lead.
MORGAN took advantage of a mistake at the back from Lee Collins to sneak in and finish well with a low strike past Duke from the edge of the area.
While the first-half had been a turgid affair lacking in quality, the second-half had burst into life.
Compton almost double the lead in the 58th minute, Harewood broke forward before backheeling the ball to the winger.
His first time curling effort from 25-yards was pushed away for a corner by Duke.
The winger, who so often frustrates fans with his inconsistent performances, again showed his class in the 70th minute.
His deft curling effort palmed away again by Duke for a corner.
Moore took off Morgan and Franks with 12 minutes left to play, bringing on Dan Jones and Nicky Featherstone as he switched to a 3-5-2 formation.
Pools were under the cosh but did have chances to add to their lead, Compton and Harewood both wasting good opportunities in the final 10 minutes.
Town sub Ivan Toney found space inside the area but his shot was straight at Flinders.
Harewood missed a glorious one-on-one in the 90th minute as the fourth official held up four minutes of added-on time.
Flinders was called on to make a flying save in added-on time as Pools recorded their third straight home win.
Full-Time: Pools 1 Northampton 0
Pools (4-4-2): Flinders (C), Duckworth, Harrison, Mirfin, Austin, Franks (Jones, 78), Woods, Tshibola, Compton (Smith, 89), Morgan (Featherstone, 78), Harewood.
Subs Not Used: Maxted, Richards, Holden, Walker.
Goalscorer: Morgan (51)
Northampton Town (4-2-3-1): Duke, Moloney, Cresswell, Collins, Horwood, D’Ath (Toney, 57), Taylor, Byrom, Holmes (Tozer, 57), O’Toole (Hackett, 74), Richards (C).
Subs Not Used: Snedker, Carter, Bodin, Newey.
Bookings: Horwood (45), Creswell (77)
Referee: Nigel Miller (County Durham)
Attendance: 2,856 (132 Northampton Town)