Ten-Man Pools Take Points
Colin Cooper’s side pick up all three points in hard-earned 1-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle.
Pools were down to ten men mid-way through the first half when Jack Compton saw red but a great individual effort from Luke James saw them pick up the win.
It was a determined and hard-working display from Pools who saw the result make it four wins in a row.
While it was Pools who came into the game on the back of three good results, Plymouth were the team to start strongest this afternoon.
The visitors dominated the early exchanges and Cooper’s men were forced to spend the opening minutes defending their own half.
Andy Monkhouse had the first effort on goal for Pools on ten minutes but his header from a Simon Walton corner went wide.
At the other end, Jack Baldwin put in one of several crucial blocks – this time rising well to head clear a Paul Hayes cross in from the right.
Conor Hourihane broke in from the edge of the box but found Christian Burgess in his path before Scott Flinders made his first mark on the game.
A Luke Young free-kick was blocked by the wall but the Plymouth man picked up the rebound to shoot on goal. Flinders superbly parried the initial strike and when Romauld Boco popped up to try and hit home the loose ball from close range again the Pools keeper blocked it out. Matty Dolan then cleaned up the danger to send the ball out the box.
The main incident of the first half occurred on 24 minutes; Jack Compton went in hard on Jamie Reckord and referee Scott Mathieson was quick to react, showing the Pools’ winger a straight red card.
The reaction to the red card was halted by a poignant moment as the 25th minute approached and supporters paid a fitting tribute to Michael Maidens with a minute of applause.
With an extra man to their advantage, Plymouth enjoyed a strong period of possession and Scott Flinders found himself with plenty to do.
The big keeper reacted well to deny Paul Hayes who broke through on goal, tipping his effort over the bar. And just minutes later he denied Hourihane from close range with another good block.
With the atmosphere inside The Vic become increasingly fiery, there were some strong challenges going in from both sides and the referee was doing little to make himself popular with either set of fans.
Pools did use the counter attack well thanks to great determination from Luke James who pushed his way past three Plymouth men to open up into space. The move ended with a cross from James Poole that picked out Andy Monkhouse in the box but his header was held by Luke McCormick.
The half-time whistle arrived at the right time for Pools as Plymouth were enjoying the majority of the ball again and working Pools hard inside the box.
Plymouth were first to try their luck after the interval, with Reuben Reid firing in low and hard through a busy area but his shot went wide of Flinders’ right hand post.
Scott Flinders pulled off another great save moments later to tip a strike from outside the area onto the post and his save triggered the start of a strong spell for Pools.
James, Poole and Monkhouse linked up nicely, with Duckworth offering good support from the right as Pools started to open up the visiting defence.
And, with 55 minutes on the clock, Pools made a breakthrough and it was all thanks to Luke James. The young striker used his pace to great effect as he brushed his way past two green shirts to burst into the box and send a composed strike past McCormick and into the far corner of the goal.
Flinders made another strong save just after the goal to deny the visitors a quick reply, while Christian Burgess put in another crucial block to deny Hayes who was in space inside the area.
Despite having to cover for being a man down, Pools showed spark in this second half and created further chances to add to the scoresheet.
Neil Austin saw a cross into the box do more to test McCormick than he planned as his ball landed just the wrong side of the bar.
Luke James broke in from the left to force another shot on target but this time McCormick held the shot and sent his team back on the attack.
Flinders saved comfortably from Hourihane, before also collecting an effort from Blackman who pushed in from the right.
Pools were putting in a real shift this afternoon, battling for everything and, with Scott Flinders proving a match for anything Plymouth had to offer, Sheridan’s team were left frustrated.
Despite late pressure, Cooper’s men were celebrating at the final whistle as they picked up all three points to make it four wins in succession.
Full Time: Pools 1 Plymouth Argyle 0
Att: 3929 (273 Plymouth Argyle)
Booked: Pools – Poole (13), Dolan (33); Plymouth – Young (36)
Sent Off: Pools – Compton (24)
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth (Collins 90), Baldwin, Burgess, Austin, Compton, Walton, Dolan, Monkhouse, Poole (Richards 71), James (Franks 90)
Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Sweeney, Walker, Rodney
Plymouth Argyle: McCormick, Berry (Gurrieri 67), Blanchard, Hourihane, Boco, Reid (Alessandra 52), Young, Trotman, Nelson, Hayes, Reckord (Blackman 56)
Subs Not Used: Cole, Blackman, Wotton, Harvey, Bencherif, Gurrieri