Hartlepool United fell to an opening day defeat, as they went down 1-0 at Stevenage. 

Pools, whose last victory on the first day of the season came in 2008, had goalkeeper Scott Flinders in inspired form. 

He he was finally beaten on the hour makr, midfielder Chris Whelpdale cracking in a low volley from 20 yards.

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He had made three fine saves before Whelpdale got the better of him.

Pools hit the bar after only two minutes, when Jack Compton’s shot beat keeper Sam Beasant but came back off the crossbar.

Whelpdale almost scored on 20 minutes, denied only by a fine covering tackle from Pools’ midfielder Bradley  Walker in the six yard area, before Flinders kept out the follow up from the impressive Charlie Lee.

He then made a point-blank save from a close-range Tom Pett shot after a well-worked free-kick was rolled into the area.

Flinders saved well from Adam Marriott and then Lee before he was finally beaten.

Pools’ best chance of a leveller came on 80 minutes, when centre-half Sam Collins glanced a header wide. 

Substitute Ryan Brobbel went down  in the area deep into injury time, but referee Mark Haywood was having none of it.

STEVENAGE: Beasant; Ashton, Worley, Wells, Dembele; Pett (Deacon 88), Lee, Bond, Whelpdale (Okimo 82); Marriott, Charles (Calutt 77). Subs: Day (gk), Johnson.

HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders; Duckworth, Collins, Bates, Austin; Walker (Franks 76), Miller, Parnaby (Brobbel 76), Compton; James, Harewood. Subs: Dixon (gk), Holden, Woods, Hawkins, Richards.

Referee: Mark Haywood (Leeds)