HARTLEPOOL UNITED’S play-off ambitions took a knock, as they went down to a home defeat against struggling Ebbsfleet.

Pools went into the game buoyant after two impressive away performances, but were beaten by a second-half penalty, losing to opposition who were intent to kill the game off from the start.

Their time-wasting tactics paid off as they frustrated Pools and the Victoria Park faithful.

The game boiled over at the final whistle as players from both sides went head to head, while Pools club mascot H'Angus the Monkey was in the thick of it. Pools boss Dave Challinor was shown the red card by referee Aaron Jackson, who appeared to lose any semblance of control.

One fan from the Neale Cooper Stand got onto the pitch to be dragged away from the opposition players, who were squaring up to supporters.

The deciding penalty came when Gime Toure tripped Josh Umerah in the area and Gozie Ugwu confidently scored.

Between the award and spot kick the referee was in discussion with both managers and the fourth official.

Pools had three good second half chances to score, but each time their finishes were straight into keeper Jordan Holmes.