A DISAPPOINTING second-half display from Hartlepool United saw them go down 2-1 to Wycombe Wanderers in their Sky Bet League Two clash at Adams Park.
Jack Barmby’s third goal for the club had given Pools a 1-0 lead at half-time as they looked to keep the pressure on the play-off positions.
The on-loan Manchester United forward lofted a sublime effort into the top corner three minutes before the break to give Pools the lead.
But it wasn’t long after the break that Wycombe equalised through a Dean Morgan header in the 52nd minute.
It was a body blow for Pools who had started the second half slowly and it was a sloppy goal to concede.
Wycombe took the lead in the 70th minute through substitute Matt McClure’s bullet header from a corner - despite appeals for a foul on Scott Flinders.
That goal was enough to secure all three points for the Choirboys.
Defeat saw Pools drop to 10th, but they remain five points off the play-off positions.
Pools gaffer Colin Cooper had named the same starting line-up for the match being played in glorious sunshine in Buckinghamshire.
Luke James and Marlon Harewood again started up front for Pools at Adams Park, with support from Barmby playing just behind the front pairing.
Michael Duckworth and Neil Austin again missed out through injury, with young full-backs Jordan Richards and Darren Holden again starting in defence either side of captain Sam Collins and Christian Burgess.
Pools, playing in red, went into the match ninth in Sky Bet League Two - two places and five points from the top seven.
Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe team, meanwhile, started the day fourth bottom but haven’t lost in their last five matches.
It was the first match for Cooper & Co without former assistant Craig Hignett, who this week left to become Number 2 to Aitor Karanka at Championship side Middlesbrough.
Three minutes in and Pools were denied what looked like a clear goalscoring opportunity - James pushed in the back by Chairboys defender Anthony Stewart inside the area.
But referee Andrew Madley waved away the appeals for a penalty to the astonishment of the travelling Pools fans.
It left Cooper on the Pools bench fuming with the decision, and Stewart relieved he wasn’t given his marching orders so early into the match.
Ainsworth was then forced into an early change with Matt McClure replacing the injured Paris Cowan-Hall in just the 8th minute.
James had started the match really well, running at the Wycombe defence four times within the space of the opening 15 minutes but they just about managed to keep him at bay.
With 23 minutes gone, Dean Morgan broke free down the left-hand flank after Simon Walton had given the ball away with a poor pass.
Morgan seemed caught in two minds and he ended up scuffing his shot across the face of the goal.
In the 29th minute Brad Walker had to be alert to block the strike from Nick Arnold on the edge of the penalty area and then moments later substitute McClure had Wycombe’s best chance of the first-half.
He found himself free just inside the area but his fiercely-struck shot was straight down the throat of Scott Flinders, who gathered the ball well.
Bloomfield then screwed a shot five-yards wide of Flinders’ left-hand post in the 39th minute.
Surprisingly, the warm conditions didn’t mean the pace of the game slowed, with both sides still pushing forward as the clock ticked down towards the half-time whistle.
And the first goal of the game came in the 42nd minute - through on-loan Barmby.
It was a fantastic strike from inside the penalty area, taking a touch before lofting the ball with his left-boot into the top-right hand corner.
Another quality goal from the forward, his third for the club.
Moments later Barmby then went into the notebook for a foul, before the referee blew for half-time.
Half Time: Wycombe 0 Pools
Pools were slow to start the second half and were made to pay within seven minutes of the re-start.
Morgan, who shot over the bar within two minutes of the break, made up for it in the 52nd minute.
The striker got in front of Collins to head the ball into the corner of Flinder’s net from around six-yards following a good cross from Josh Scowen.
It was a bitter blow for Cooper’s men who looked rattled in the opening 15 minutes of the second-half.
James was unable to take advantage of a ball into the box, while Christian Burgess then headed a Walton free-kick into the hands of Matt Ingram.
Max Kretzschmar found himself in acres of space on the edge of the Pools penalty area but fired his shot high over Flinders’ bar to the relieve of the stopper.
Scowen and McCoy were booked for Wycombe in the first 20 minutes of the second-half.
Walton, in the 64th minute, chanced his arm from 20-yards but his left-footed volley was three-yards wide of the post.
Richards then did well down the right-hand flank to manage to squeeze a cross towards James in the middle but Leon Johnson and Anthony Stewart combined to clear the ball.
Then the killer blow - a second of the afternoon for Wycombe.
Sub McClure found himself free at the back post from a Kretzschmar corner to head the ball past Flinders, who was appealing for a foul as the ball came across.
But referee Madley waved it away and awarded the goal.
Wycombe looked more likely to extend their lead as the half wore on, with McClure testing Flinders with a hotly-struck shot but the Pools stopper got a strong hand to it.
Monkhouse then had a shot deflected over in the 86th minute from close range, with Collins glancing a header from a Walton corner wide.
Cooper than brought on striker Nialle Rodney for Walton in the 87th minute as they looked to get back in the game.
Walker’s striker from 25-yards in the 89th minute was just about dealt with by Ingram, the ball pushed away for a corner but Pools couldn’t capitalise on it.
And with that went any hope of an equaliser.
Full Time: Wycombe 2 Pools 1
Pools (4-4-2): Flinders, Richards, Collins(C), Burgess, Holden, Walton (Rodney, 87), Walker, Monkhouse, Barmby (Sweeney, 73), James, Harewood (Franks, 73).
Subs Not Used: Rafferty (gk), Hawkins, Compton, Poole.
Booked: Barmby, Walton.
Goal: Barmby 42.
Wycombe (4-4-2): Ingram, McCoy, Wood, Johnson, Stewart, Scowen, Arnold, Bloomfield, Kretzschmar, Morgan (Craig, 90), Cowan-Hall (McClure, 8).
Subs Not Used: Horlock (gk), Jeffrey, Kuffour, Pierre, Kewley-Graham.
Booked: McCoy, Scowen.
Goal: Morgan, 52, McClure, 70.
Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)