Fulham were left ruing a late defensive lapse after they slipped to their first defeat of the season at Victoria Park this afternoon.

Former Fulham midfielder Mark Cooper came back to haunt the Whites when he opened the scoring with a speculative shot from the edge of the box that took two wicked deflections and looped over a helpless Mark Walton before going in off the underside of the bar. The Whites responded well to going behind and scored from another well-worked corner routine. Paul Watson’s corner was flicked on at the near post by Nick Cusack and Rob Scott levelled with a diving header from close range.

The Cottagers then took control and were unfortunate not to take the lead. Skipper Simon Morgan saw a shot bounce back off the post before playing in substitute Darren Freeman with a beautiful ball but the shaggy-haired forward’s first goal for his new club was controversially ruled out by an offside flag. The visitors looked to be in the driving seat but paid for a loss of concentration with eight minutes to go. Glen Davies headed the winner from full back Sean Macauley’s floated cross to give Keith Houchen’s side all three points.

Adams told the press afterwards: ‘I think we deserved a point but I wouldn’t say we deserved to win.’

HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Pears; McGuckin, McAuley, McDonald (Clegg 73), Ingram, Beech, Cooper, Halliday, Houchen, Tait, Davies. Subs (not used): Lee, Homer.

BOOKED: McGuckin.

GOALS: Cooper (58), Davies (82).

FULHAM: Walton; Watson, Herrera, Cullip (Thomas 81), Cusack, Blake, McAree (Freeman 66), Cockerill, Conroy, Morgan, Scott. Subs (not used): Angus.

GOAL: Scott (70).