A second-half goal from Rollin Menayese and an own goal from Travis Johnson lifted Hartlepool out of the League Two bottom two with a deserved 2-0 victory at Crawley.
This was only Pools’ third league win of the season and their first away from home for nearly nine months, ending a run of 14 away League Two games without victory.
Crawley did not muster a shot on goal until stoppage time as they tumbled to their first defeat under new boss Matty Etherington.
Etherington had urged his men to play with “a freedom” going into the game, and admitted back-to-back victories would give them the perfect opportunity to start “looking upwards rather than below”.
James Balagizi should have tested Pools goalkeeper Ben Killip early on before Etherington suffered a double injury blow with striker Ashley Nadesan and stand-in skipper Joel Lynch being forced off in the opening 17 minutes.
Fit-again Pools defender Jamie Sterry produced his side’s first threat by having a low shot saved by keeper Ellery Balcombe after cutting inside on the half hour.
Pools’ top scorer Josh Umerah put a header wide at the start of the second half before defender Reghan Tumilty got up to direct a header off target.
Pools broke the deadlock on 64 minutes when defender Menayese headed in a corner from Callum Cooke to register his first goal for the club in front of the travelling fans.
It got better for Keith Curle’s side nine minutes later when Johnson headed into his own net from another corner by Cooke nine minutes from time.
In a deeply disappointing night for the Reds, their first effort on goal did not arrive until stoppage time when keeper Killip saved James Tilley’s header.
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