John Hughes is still waiting for his first win after four games as Hartlepool manager following a 2-0 home defeat to Stevenage.

But the recently-installed head coach insists he can see a victory on the horizon.

Pools have improved in recent weeks but it is now 20 games since their last victory - their only one of the season coming on September 1.

Goals in each half from Marcus Haber and Lucas Akins separated the sides, but Pools were unable to make the most of the stack of chances they created from start to finish.

"I refuse to talk about luck and decisions going against us,'' said Hughes. "I applaud efforts and commitments. I've seen that all week in training and their effort in training and how they have gone about it in tough conditions.

"Two disappointments - the result and the goals we conceded. It's a shame we didn't play the same football second half as we did in the first. I wanted the supporters to see us having a go and we did. There's frustration throughout and we will build on the first-half performance.

"There will be comings and goings and we will be spinning plates, but I want to bring success here. They gave me an opportunity here, the supporters are behind me and there's a good sense of warmth here.''

Delighted Stevenage boss Gary Smith said: "They have a new manager and are fighting for their lives here as they showed. We scored at important times and that was the big thing for me.

"I knew it would be tough going, the goal in the first half was one of a couple of chances we had. It was a competitive game and Marcus took his goal well, stayed on the move, got ahead of the centre-back and stayed alert enough for the second ball to score.''

He added: "In the second half as it unfolded, the penalty came at a good time for us and some passages of play were a bit more fluent, but it was Hartlepool in the main who had the better possession. Saying that it was only in the latter stages when they started to press and create chances on goal."