Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe hailed his side's character as they bounced back from defeat to Walsall to win 2-1 at Hartlepool.

The Cherries moved into the npower League One play-off zone as they won their first game in six thanks to Lewis Grabban's second-half spot-kick, scored 12 minutes after Josh McQuoid's opener had been cancelled out by Jack Baldwin.

"We lost on Saturday and showed character here, it's really pleasing," Howe said. "It was an excellent performance with and without the ball. As the away team we passed the ball well and should have been more than one goal up.

"They changed their game plan, we conceded a goal from nothing and then it's question marks about how the lads respond and they did it again. Josh McQuoid scored and took his goal well - the goal will do his confidence the world of good and he was busy and lively.''

The opener came on 29 minutes when McQuoid headed in a superb Simon Francis cross and the Cherries were in control for the opening 45 minutes. But Evan Horwood's 51st-minute free-kick caused problems and Baldwin turned in from close range to cause a scare for the Cherries.

A 63rd-minute penalty from Grabban won it for Howe, who admitted: "We were one up at half time and that leaves us open to a leveller. We passed well and were in full control, but in the main it was the final ball, cross or cut back that was missing.

"The main thing is we won the game and come back with three points. We are sixth and want to be chasing the top two it was important to get back on the straight and narrow after losing at the weekend.''

For Pools this was a seventh successive home defeat - an unwanted club record. They remain eight points adrift at the foot of the League One table.

"We were outplayed first half and had the best two chances,'' admitted boss John Hughes. "I say about keeping ourselves in the game and we had two great chances.

"Second half when we went on the front foot and gave a go at it we caused problems. But we give ourselves problems at times. We need to keep a clean sheet, that's what I've got to work on. There wasn't enough composure in passing and I'd like to think we are better in movement and passing than we are.''