EVAN Horwood’s fantastic second-half drive dramatically ended Cherries’ mini-revival at Seward Stadium this afternoon.

The Hartlepool United substitute hammered home in the 87th minute as unbeaten Pools stole a 2-1 victory after a south-coast late show.

Cherries had enjoyed the majority of the play, particularly in the first half, as they looked to build on back-to-back wins over Leyton Orient and Exeter City.

Lee Bradbury’s men looked on course to make it three on the spin when Steven Gregory struck from 20 yards eight minutes before the interval.

But former Newcastle United star Nolberto Solano levelled with a fine free-kick before Horwood ended a tight second period in some style.

The defeat left new-look Cherries with just nine points from their opening 10 League One matches.

Boss Bradbury made two changes to the team that won at Exeter – both enforced by injury.

Captain Adam Barrett and Nathan Byrne missed out, with loan recruit Jaime Peters and player-assistant manager Steve Fletcher drafted in.

Shaun Cooper dropped back into defence and took the armband, while new signing Stephane Zubar was named among the substitutes.

Quick out of the blocks, Cherries almost enjoyed a dream start with just three minutes on the clock. After visiting keeper Scott Flinders could only punch Scott Malone’s corner into the heart of his penalty area, the ball fell invitingly for Harry Arter. But the playmaker, a pre-match injury doubt, saw his fierce low drive well parried by the stopper.

While Hartlepool showed glimpses to back up their fine form – with former top-flight midfielder Solano providing a touch of class – Cherries continued to enjoy the better of the play.

Lively Marc Pugh saw a cross-shot cleared after being released by impressive Peters.

Cherries were grateful to a timely intervention from Mathieu Baudry, his last-ditch tackle denying Colin Nish after a slick Pools move. When the loose ball fell for Anthony Sweeney, his wayward effort flew into the crowd.

Arter was a growing influence on the game but just when it looked as if Cherries would be unable to find a way through before the interval, Gregory struck.

Signed from AFC Wimbledon in the summer, the midfielder hit his first goal for the club on 37 minutes when he let fly from 25 yards, his sweet strike leaving Flinders clutching at air.

However, the joy at sunny Seward Stadium proved short-lived as Cherries’ lead lasted a mere five minutes.

Ex-Premier League man Solano displayed all his qualities when he curled a sumptuous free-kick past the despairing dive of Darryl Flahavan. The Peruvian lived up to his big billing after getting his chance following a rash challenge from Baudry on Adam Boyd.

The second period started in more low-key fashion, with Mick Wadsworth’s visitors coming into the game more, while Arter continued to dictate Cherries’ best offerings.

It was the former Charlton Athletic man who had the first notable effort of the half when his free-kick was easily held by Flinders.

In a bid to try to take control of the uneventful proceedings, both managers looked to their bench, with Bradbury opting for the fresh legs of teenager Jayden Stockley in place of veteran Fletcher.

Both teams were now showing more urgency and Gregory saw a curling effort well held before Nish fired narrowly wide from a neat Horwood cross.

Cherries failed to take a glorious chance in the 78th minute when Stockley could only head straight at Flinders after latching on to a long ball.

Tempers flared when substitute Warren Cummings was sent sprawling by a challenge from Andy Monkhouse, the Pools man escaping with a booking to the anger of the home crowd and technical area.

To make matters worse, the visitors went up the other end to take the lead in spectacular style with just three minutes remaining.

After a cross from the right made its way to Horwood, the Pools man left Flahavan with no chance as his powerful rocket of a left-foot shot flew in off the underside of the crossbar.

And despite a late push from Cherries, they could not find a way through as Pools emerged victorious.

Cherries: (4-4-2) Flahavan; Purches (Zubar, 84), Cooper, Baudry, Malone; Peters (Cummings, 84), Gregory, Arter, Pugh; Fletcher (Stockley, 73), Thomas. Unused subs: Carmichael, Jalal (g/k).

Booked: Baudry

Pools: (4-4-2) Flinders; Austin, Collins, Hartley, Humphreys; Solano (Horwood, 75), Liddle, Murray (Poole, 66), Sweeney; Nish, Boyd (Monkhouse, 62). Unused subs: Luscombe, Rafferty (g/k).

Booked: Murray, Hartley, Monkhouse

Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire)

Attendance: 5,275 (172 away supporters)