Pools Make Point At Plymouth
Jack Barmby provided the International Rescue as Pools were roared on to a well-deserved point at Plymouth Argyle by a following of Thunderbirds.
As is tradition for the final away game of the season, Pools fans turned up en masse in fancy dress with this year’s theme taken from the hit 1960s television series.
And while it was Barmby who took the headlines, it was Connor Oliver who pulled the strings in midfield as the youngster produced a classy full debut for the Club in the centre of midfield.
Colin Cooper put the on-loan Sunderland star in to his starting line-up to fill in for the suspended Simon Walton, while Barmby was preferred to James Poole in an attacking role.
The hosts were out of the traps quickly and carved out the first chance inside a minute when Rommy Boco found space on the left of the area but his shot on the volley bounced in to the ground and looped over Scott Flinders’ goal.
Luke Young tried his luck from long-range but never looked likely to trouble Flinders who gathered easily, while Pools almost snatched the lead when Connor Oliver came close to marking his full debut with a goal but dragged his effort wide after a nice trade of passes with Brad Walker.
Oliver was firing on goal a moment later after Jack Barmby skipped away down the left and his cross was cleared to the on-loan midfielder but this time his effort flew too high.
Enoch Showunmi and Sam Collins both looked to be enjoying the tussle they were having at the other end of the pitch and the Pilgrims’ target man struck a long-range effort on goal which just didn’t dip enough and grazed the roof of the net on its way over.
The game was swinging from one end to another and Oliver again took the opportunity to shoot but his effort from a long way out was powerful enough but just too high to trouble Jake Cole in the home goal.
On the half hour mark it was the hosts who broke the deadlock when Jason Banton wriggled clear of a couple of challenges on the edge of the box to find space to fire a powerful effort past Flinders in to the right-hand corner of the net.
Colin Cooper’s men responded quite positively to the setback and Walker almost brought them level with a typically cleanly-struck shot from thirty yards which stung the palms of Cole who had to rely on centre-back Neal Trotman to sweep up the rebound.
Collins won the last battle of the half with Showunmi when he bravely and brilliantly cleared at the back post under pressure from the striker after Andres Gurrieri provided a teasing cross.
Early after the restart Argyle wasted a good opportunity to increase their lead when full-back Durrell Berry got forward to cross to the far post where Showumni nodded it back across to Gurrieri who should have done better than send his header over.
Barmby was starting to have more of a say though and after swapping passes with Compton – on as a substitute for the injured Andy Monkhouse – he wriggled in to space on the edge of the box but fired his shot just wide.
Argyle substitute Lewis Alessandra responded by driving forward to set-up Conor Hourihane but the home skipper drilled his effort wide of the near post.
Pools were beginning to play more fluently though and Barmby ran in to possession again on the halfway line before cheekily nutmegging his man to free up some space to drill a swerving shot on goal which Jake Cole kept out with his chest.
Hourihane was still Argyle’s main threat and he had another effort on goal which tested Flinders who parried it away to the edge of the box where Oliver was able to clear the danger.
However, Pools were back on level terms when the dangerous Barmby seized on a sloppy back-header from Berry to run through and lob a delicious effort over the stranded Cole before running away to celebrate in front of the Thunderbirds.
The hosts introduced their top scorer and newly-crowned Player of the Year Reuben Reid to try and inject some energy and his first act was to drill a shot across goal and wide.
Pools continued to carry the greater threat though and Darren Holden was brilliantly found by a searching Oliver pass down the left, allowing the left-back to storm in to the box and smash a low effort agonisingly wide of the post.
Michael Duckworth’s quick thinking from a throw-in freed Jordan Richards who was able to find fellow substitute James Poole but the front man’s shot was deflected wide.
Reid rolled Harrison at the other end to provide Argyle’s most dangerous moment of the second half but as he got his shot away Flinders made himself big to block it away for a corner.
The best chance for Pools to win it fell to Compton as Pools counter-attacked effectively and the winger carried the ball right to the edge of the box before smashing a low shot off the base of the post.
Yet in injury time the hosts could have snatched all three points themselves when Hourihane curled a free-kick round the wall only to also see it come back off the post.
As it was though, the game ended all-square and it was the least Pools deserved for an encouraging second half performance and for their amazing travelling support.
Att: 6617 (246 Pools)
Plymouth Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Berry, Gurrieri, Young, Hourihane, Boco, Banton (Alessandra 50), Showumni (Reid 68).
Subs Not Used: Reid, Harvey, Purrington, Parsons, Dawson.
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Collins, Harrison, Holden, Oliver, Walker, Barmby (Richards 80), Monkhouse (Compton 35), Harewood, Franks (Poole 60).
Subs Not Used:Rafferty, Jones, Rowbotham, Hawkins.