JACK Compton missed a second-half penalty as Hartlepool United signed off for the summer with a 1-0 defeat at home to Preston North End, writes Craig Hope.
Pools were already trailing to Joe Garner’s spot-kick when the close-season signing saw his effort saved by Thorsten Stuckmann.
Colin Cooper had fielded his strongest XI for the visit of Simon Grayson’s Lilywhites with teenager Brad Walker replacing Simon Walton in central midfield.
But the hosts created little during a low-key affair which marks their final outing before the curtain raiser at Rochdale next Saturday.
After a slow start it wasn’t until the 10th minute that a James Poole shin-roller trundled wide of the visiting goal.
At the other end Garner glanced a header wide from 12 yards which saw Scott Flinders scrambling to cover.
The visitors had their spot-kick on 22 minutes when Jack Baldwin, struggling to get on terms with Graham Cummins, tugged the forward to the ground just yards from goal.
Garner stepped up and dispatched an uncompromising belt into the bottom corner.
Pools had not mustered anything by way of meaningful openings and Poole’s speculative volley from 20 yards was as close as they came as the game moved beyond the 30-minute mark.
But they had their chance for parity just five minutes after the restart for the second period.
Compton was felled by Paul Huntington as he made strides into the area and a penalty was awarded.
The same player took responsibility, but his low drill was palmed to safety by Stuckmann.
There was an opening for Andy Monkhouse on the hour mark when Peter Hartley squared from the left, but the forward’s first-time swipe flew wide.
Likewise, Poole failed to locate the target from a 20-yard free-kick 10 minutes from time.