Pools pushed promotion-chasing Plymouth all the way at The Vic this afternoon but lost 2-1, with a 90th-minute goal sealing the win for Argyle.
It was a much-improved start to the game for Pools this afternoon, as they looked sharp and energetic from the off.
With Kal Naismith back in the eleven, offering a new positive option for the team, Moore’s side were more than a match for promotion-chasing Argyle in a competitive first half.
Plymouth’s first shot arrived on eight minutes and it was a good effort; a great cross in from Craig Tanner on the left picked out Kelvin Mellor arriving at the far post but while the full back met it sweetly, he sent his header wide.
Tanner went for glory himself with a freekick from 20 yards out but Trevor Carson collected comfortably.
There was a high tempo to the first half, with neither team conceding an inch and there were a number of strong fifty-fifty challenges going in – most notably for Pools from Michael Woods who was enjoying a physical afternoon in the middle of the pitch.
Jake Gray opened things up down the right for Pools, jinking his way into the box to send a low drive goalwards but Luke McCormick took delivery at the near post.
Good work by Naismith down the right set up the best chance of the half for Pools as the ball was played in to Woods in a central position in the box. The midfielder smacked a powerful strike at goals only to be denied by Curtis Nelson who threw his body – and very possibly his hands – in the way of the ball to deny a goal.
The Pools players appealed for the penalty kick but referee Mr Salisbury showed no interest in the incident.
A freekick into the box from Naismithcaused a problem for the visitors as it was headed around the area before it fell to Adam Jackson who lashed a shot wide of the near post.
The first half finished goalles but in stark contrast to Tuesday night, Pools were cheered off at half time, the home fans encouraged by the possession, play and positivity showed in the opening 45 minutes.
There were chances for both sides in the opening minutes of the second half as the competitive approach spanned the break.
The visitors probably had the better of the first ten minutes though, as they sent a few blasts in from distance which kept Pools on their toes but failed to find target.
Gregg Wylde put a lovely ball across the face of goal after making space down the left but as his cross was allowed float past goal with no touch from a waiting Plymouth boot.
A Naismith corner from the right picked out Nicky Featherstone inside the box but his header went over the bar in Pools’ first real effort of the second half.
Pools were under much more pressure in this half as Argyle upped their pressure on Carson’s goal and on 76 minutes their pressure paid off as a ball into the box picked out Carl McHugh in space and he pushed on to curl a shot past Carson and into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
Less than ten minutes later and at the other end Moore’s side, who had so far struggled to make an impact, opened things up.
A great ball in from the impressive Matthew Bates evaded Rakish Bingham who threw himself to meet it but, with Scott Fenwick following up to try and meet the cross, the striker was bundled over by Kelvin Mellor.
The referee this time pointed straight to the spot and Fenwick stepped up to take the kick. After a few distraction tactics from Luke McCormick, the Pools striker slotted the penalty past him to make it 1-1 on 85 minutes.
Plymouth though were back ahead on 90 minutes as Mellor went from villain to hero, finding the space inside the box to fire home to make it 2-1.
It was a cruel late blow for Pools who had looked to have snatched a point back from a tough fixture but, despite a strong call for another penalty in added time, there was no time for a way back and the game finished in defeat.
Full Time: Pools 1 Plymouth Argyle 2
Booked: Gray (4)
Pools: Carson, Harrison, Bates, Jackson, Carroll, Featherstone, Gray (Mandron 81), Woods, Naismith, Fenwick, Oates (Bingham 55).
Subs Not Used: Bartlett, Richards, Walker, Oyenuga, Smith.
Plymouth Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Sawyer, McHugh, Nelson, Hartley, Wylde (Purrington 86), Jervis (Harvey 65), Brunt (Smalley 90), Threlkeld, Tanner.
Subs Not Used: Walton, Bentley, Hall, Rooney.