HARTLEPOOL United lost for the first time on home soil this season as Newport County scored a stoppage time sucker punch to inflict a 2-1 defeat.

It was a cruel way for Pools to lose the game after a second half resurgence levelled the game and they looked like they would go on to win before the Welsh outfit stole the points at the death.

Pools started the game on the front foot and were backed by the consistently noisy North-West corner of the newly renamed Suit Direct Stadium.

While one or two penalty shouts weren’t going there way, the best opening came through an unlikely source when Zaine Francis-Angol made up ground on the left and dinked the ball to the back post. Raegan Ogle was on hand with a free header but got his header completely wrong as the ball looped over the other side of the post.

Ben Killip was brought back in goal after missing the last four games through injury and his presence was felt on 22 minutes when Fin Azaz drove at the Hartlepool defence before carving an opening after a one-two with Dom Telford. Azaz fired at the near post but strong hand of Killip denied the goal bound effort.

Telford almost produced a moment of magic moments later when he audaciously trued to find another way passed Killip with a dink just inside the box. Fortunately for Pools, it was just inches over the crossbar.

The game was back and forth with both sides demonstrating plenty of energy. While Pools got plenty of joy down the wings, Newport had more potency in the attacking areas.

Their quality showed just after the half hour mark when former Poolie Matty Dolan whipped in an inviting corner that was met by Courtney Baker-Richardson. He towered above the Pools defence and produced a thunderous header that was too much for Killip who could only parry the ball into the top of the net.

Pools rallied themselves and went in search of an equaliser just before the half-time whistle. More joy from the left saw Nicky Featherstone’s free-kick find Ogle once again at the back post but the Australian power his header into the side netting. Two glaring opportunities from an unlikely source.

Hartlepool came back out on the front foot for the second half. Luke Molyneux drove at the Newport defence after a quick move down the right but his low cross zipped off the surface and just missed Mark Cullen and Ferguson. Moments later, Molyneux almost turned provider when he teed up Matty Daly on the edge of the box for a volley that flew inches over the bar.

Molyneux did more donkey work winning a free-kick on the edge of box. Ferguson’s wicked left footed effort bent round the wall but smacked off the base of the post. The whole stadium was up on their feet thinking the effort had gone in.

It didn’t take long for Ferguson to have his moment of magic.

Molyneux was once again providing plenty of threat running at the Newport defence and was brought down by Mickey Demetriou on the edge of the box. This time, Ferguson made no mistake and picked out top bins bending over the wall and into the top right corner from 20 yards.

From there, it looked like the home side would go on to seal another comeback win.

Newport had an opening which perhaps they should have taken more advantage of when Azaz dinked a ball over the top to Telford who couldn’t connect with his volley enough. A good enough chance to go back in front.

While further chances were hard to come by for both sides, Pools weren’t letting their foot off the gas and threw on fresh legs in Mike Fondop and Joe Grey to go in search of a winner.

But just as Hartlepool were running out of steam, Newport rallied themselves with one last chance and hit the home side with a stoppage time sucker punch.

A deep cross from the left found Azaz at the back post who diverted the ball back across cross goal. Telford somehow stopped low enough to direct the ball away from the fingertips of Killip and host of blue shirts to see the ball nestle into the bottom corner.

There was no time left for Pools to find a winner as Antony Sweeney recorded his first defeat in interim charge of the club.