Yeovil Town’s fifth win in seven npower League One games took them to within four points of the play-offs as Hartlepool United’s woes at the other end of the table intensified.
Joe Edwards’ scrappy first half finish was enough to seal the points at Huish Park, with the strike somewhat typical of a frustratingly dull game.
United’s long ball approach failed to ignite excitement, whilst the Glovers also failed to find their creative spark as another low crowd craned their necks to the skies in search of the ball.
Victorious manager Gary Johnson said: “We had a really good start and to be fair we didn’t have too bad a finish.
“But they are struggling at the bottom with eight points, they were going to knock the ball long up to (Steve) Howard and our centre halves are going to have headaches all weekend because they had to head a lot.
“We had to track runners and then be good enough to go from one end to the other by keeping the ball.
“On the day only on a few occasions were we able to do that so it didn’t make for a spectacle but the three points at this level are always a good effort and we have got to see it that way.”
The Glovers made one change to the team beaten 3-1 by Stevenage, Luke Ayling earning a recall at right back. Edwards moved to right wing, as Keanu Marsh-Brown dropped to the bench.
The switch brought almost immediate reward when the Bristol City loanee broke the deadlock. In a move rehearsed on the training ground, Edwards broke across his man to meet Sam Foley’s near post cross and converted.
It was to prove a rare highlight of a dire opening period. On 26 minutes Hartlepool keeper Scott Flinders made a mess of punching clear a corner, Daniel Johnson eventually drilling over.
Five minutes before a break welcomed by the 3,095 supporters, Flinders gathered Paddy Madden’s downward header after the striker was found at the far post by Jamie McAllister.
Edwards was at the heart of the first telling move of the second half, picking the pocket of a dithering United defender but curling beyond the far post on 50 minutes.
Marek Stech was at full-stretch to tip over James Poole’s drive two minutes later, Peter Hartley then failing to punish lax defending at the subsequent corner, scuffing over.
On 55 minutes, Madden spurned a glorious opportunity to double his team’s lead, but could not divert his header on goal after springing the offside trap.
Substitute Marsh-Brown had been on the pitch for just five minutes when he volleyed over first time from Madden’s intuitive lob.
Hartlepool players surrounded referee Tim Robinson on 69 minutes when Byron Webster appeared to block a header with his arm but calls for a penalty were waved away.
Flinders ended a fine Yeovil move on 73 minutes when he dived behind Daniel Johnson’s deflected effort from 20 yards.
On 86 minutes Ayling’s valiant block prevented Howard’s shot from testing Stech as the Glovers held on for a valuable, if drab, three points.
Yeovil Town (4-4-2) - Stech; Ayling, Webster, Burn, McAllister; Edwards, Johnson, Smith, Foley (Reid, 79); Hayter (Marsh-Brown, 64), Madden. Unused subs: Hinds, Williams, Stewart, Haynes-Brown.
Goal: Edwards 8.
Booking: McAllister (foul).
Hartlepool United (4-5-1) - Flinders; Richards, Hartley, Collins, Austin; Franks (Wyke, 80), Poole, Sweeney, Walton, Murray (Luscombe, 85); Howard. Unused subs: Humphreys, Horwood, Baldwin, Holden, McHugh.
Booking: Howard (foul).
Ref: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).
YEOVIL TOWN 1-0 HARTLEPOOL UNITED - PICTURE SPECIAL