Defeat For Pools At Plymouth
Colin Cooper had made two changes to his side for the long trip to the south-west, drafting in Marlon Harewood as a replacement for Charlie Wyke and restoring Jordan Richards to the right-back role.
After suffering a 5-1 loss to Northampton Town in midweek, Pools were keen on mounting a response against an Argyle side who had lost their last two outings in League Two.
Marvin Morgan was being employed wide on the left by the hosts but he showed his threat early on when he outmuscled Jordan Richards to cut in to the box but his shot was tame and was held by Scott Flinders.
Reuben Reid made a permanent move to Plymouth during the summer after spending last season on loan at the Club, and he could have opened the scoring after linking-up with Morgan but scuffed his first shot before seeing his follow-up effort blocked by Richards.
As Pools struggled to fully clear the danger, Dominic Blizzard hit a venomous shot from twenty-five yards which Flinders sprung to his left to palm away from the top corner.
However, on fourteen minutes the deadlock was broken when Pools afforded Morgan too much time to turn on the left side of the penalty area and he drilled a low finish across Flinders and in to the bottom corner of the net.
A set-piece from the training ground almost helped Pools draw level when Ryan Brobbel dragged a corner low to the edge of the area for Brad Walker but his first time left-foot effort was just too high.
Marlon Harewood was playing with more determination and he shrugged off Anthony O’Connor with ease on the half way line before feeding Brobbel but he was off-balance and under pressure from Peter Hartley and fired a shot wide.
Lewis Alessandra struck a left-foot shot over the bar before Jack Compton almost found Harewood with a low cross to front post but Argyle keeper Luke McCormick got down bravely to snatch the ball.
Morgan was proving a danger for the hosts and when he sprinted clear down the left he found room to lift a cross in to Reid but the front man could only nod an effort wide of Flinders’ post.
Blizzard attempted another spectacular finish as half time drew closer, running on to Lee Cox’s driven cross from the right but volleying his effort over the bar.
Pools’ best chance of the half came just before the whistle when Neil Austin’s long throw-in was flicked on by Harewood and freed Jonathan Franks who scampered through only to see his toe-poked finish blocked by McCormick who was quickly off his line.
Cooper’s men began the second half on the front foot too, Franks making the most of a Hartley slip to run clear down the right before sending the ball across to Compton who scuffed a shot at the keeper.
Argyle had begun the second half a little sloppily but they almost increased their lead on their first foray forward but when the ball fell for Blizzard on the edge of the box he miskicked a shot wide of the near post.
Brobbel got in behind the home defence when running on to a good Harewood flick-on before being bundled to the ground in the box though the referee waved away his adamant appeals for a penalty.
A sweeping move started by Walker’s driven pass to Compton could have brought reward as the winger dribbled his way in to the box and fed Harewood who teed up Tommy Miller but the midfielder drove his shot over.
Pools were made to pay for not making the most of their possession when Plymouth stole forward on the break to make it 2-0 – Blizzard led the charge forward and slipped through substitute Nathan Thomas who avoided an offside flag and stayed cool to slot past Flinders.
After that, the game was up for Pools and it could have been worse for Pools in the final minute of injury time when Alessandra was sent clear down the right but he dragged his shot wide of the target.