HARTLEPOOL United put in their worst performance of the season in front of the live Sky Sports cameras as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Notts County.
Karl Hawley was the man at the double for Martin Allen’s men with Pools rarely threatening at the other end of the park on an afternoon to forget for the visitors.
Pools, in fact, enjoyed their only real opening after just 90 seconds, Tony Sweeney heading into the shins of goalkeeper Stuart Nelson after Nobby Solano had swung an inch-perfect centre to the far post.
But that was as close as they came during a lacklustre first half and it was County who set up base in opposition territory.
The long throw-ins of Mike Edwards were causing all manner of problems for Pools and it was from one of those deliveries that the Magpies took the lead on the half-hour mark.
Edwards’ missile was initially dealt with by the backline but, when they failed to clear from the danger zone, a game of head tennis culminated in Hawley hooking home from close range.
A sluggish Pools were struggling to get out of their own half and Hawley again went close but the midfielder, striking on goal from 12 yards, was denied by Scott Flinders.
Mick Wadsworth acted five minutes into the second half as Evan Horwood and Andy Monkhouse replaced Ritchie Humphreys and Adam Boyd.
Their arrival did inject some attacking impetus into Pools but it was County who broke to nick an all-important second on 55 minutes, Hawley racing clear before dinking over Flinders in nonchalant fashion.
Pools’ misery was compounded when Solano pulled up with a hamstring problem and he was replaced by James Poole on 73 minutes.
There were late chances for Colin Nish and Gary Liddle but Nelson was equal to both and that left substitute Cristian Montano to fire a late third as he drilled into the bottom corner from 20 yards in stoppage time.