HARTLEPOOL UNITED contrived to lose at home to Macclesfield, conceding two late goals to Macclesfield.

Pools were on top and coasting to a welcome home victory before they chucked the game away – suffering more problems at Victoria Park.

Defeat means Pools sit 13th in the National League – in no man’s land, which is where they appear destined to stay.

Pools took the lead in a bright opening half. They were on top for 85 minutes of the game and should really have been out of sight.

Their goal arrived when Michael Woods loitered in the penalty area after a misplaced pass. .Jake Cassidy broke down the right and crossed, picking out the midfielder who drove a low, angled finish across the keeper.

Two minutes on and Scott Loach ensured the lead remained intact as he pushed out a goalbound Scott Burgess shot.

In the second half, Pools pressed for a second goal which would have killed the game off.

Jack Munns went close, as did Carl Magnay, Connor Newton – three times - and Michael Woods, but they couldn’t find the net.

But Pools started to sit back, inviting pressure on.

With five minutes to go, Mitch Hancox fired a low ball across the penalty area and Ryan Lloyd slid in to convert from close range.

And if Pools were stunned at conceding a leveller, they were even more shocked when they shipped a second goal on 90 minutes.

A free-kick from the right was nodded onto the bar and Lowe was free to nod in from six yards.

Visiting boss John Askey said: “It’s a great feeling, our away record is fantastic with eight wins this season and it’s pleasing to score so late like that. Full credit to our players for working their socks off again and we played some good football. We had chance to put away, but we have 41 points at the halfway stage so we will take that.

“Coming from behind gives everyone confidence and to do it like this, away from home against a decent Hartlepool side, let’s say it’s been good week.

“Hartlepool are a good side, with quality and on another day they might have won it, but I was pleased how we kept going at the end and we looked more likely to score than they did as it went on.’’

HARTLEPOOL UNITED (4-1-3-2): Loach; Magnay, Laing, Harrison, Deverdics; Donnelly (Rodney 90); Newton, Munns (Adeloye 90), Woods; Cassidy, Oates. Subs (not used): Adams, Ledger.

MACCLESFIELD TOWN (4-5-1): Jalal; Hodgkiss, Lowe, Pilkington, Fitzpatrick; Lloyd, Whitaker, Burgess (Wilson 65), Hancox (Durrell 53), Whitehead; Marsh (Kennedy 90). Subs (not used): Ramsbottom, Kennedy, Arthur.