Final whistle match report: Hartlepool United 3 Plymouth Argyle 2

Ronnie Moore.
Ronnie Moore.
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HARTLEPOOL United made it back-to-back home wins thanks to a dramatic 3-2 win over Plymouth Argyle at Victoria Park.

Ronnie Moore’s side took an early lead through Jonathan Franks before Argyle struck back on the half-hour mark through Ryan Brunt’s low finish.

Pools hit back strongly after the break though, Franks adding his second of the match before in-form Scott Fenwick made it 3-1.

They came under late pressure from the visitors with Olly Lee heading in but held firm to secure only their fifth league win of the season.

Results elsewhere meant Pools are now seven points from safety.

Pools started the day bottom of Sky Bet League Two while Plymouth, managed by John Sheridan were just four points shy of the play-off positions.

Ex-Pools defender Peter Hartley was named on the Plymouth bench but Pools transfer target Marvin Morgan is not in the Argyle squad.

It was a difficult start for both sides at a bitterly cold and windswept Victoria Park.

Lewis Allessandra almost gave Argyle a fortunate lead, his shot deflected off Michael Duckworth and just dipped over Scott Flinders’ crossbar.

Jonathan FRANKS made no mistake with his close range effort though in the eighth minute to give Pools the lead.

Tshibola whipped the ball across the face of the goal, three Pools players missed it before it dropped to Franks who finished well.

Scott Fenwick, who had shaken off an arm injury to play, almost double the lead a few minutes later but his flicked effort at the near post was saved by Luke McCormick.

The game settled down with neither side carving out any furter opportunities until the half hour mark.

Reuben Reid flicked the ball on to Ryan BRUNT, who was given far too much time and space on the edge of the Pools area to pick his spot from 18-yards with a low, crisp finish.

Fenwick almost put Pools back in front, he was at full stretch but connected with Franks’ low cross only to see McCormick save his shot on the line in the 33rd minute.

The striker’s appeals that the ball was behind the line fell on deaf ears.

Pools had started the game well but faded as the half progressed as both sides went into the break level.

Half-Time: Pools 1 Plymouth 1

Pools took the lead in the 54th minute, which came from a thrown in on the left flank, conceded by Tom Flanagan’s sloppy mistake.

Michael Woods, again impressive in central midfield, cut inside on the left flank and played the ball to FRANKS who finished well from inside the area to put Pools 2-1 up.

Matthew Bates then had a header cleared off the line by Lee Cox in the 60th minute as the home side pushed for a third.

Flanagan was shown yellow for a late challenge on Franks and was again late on Tshibola but escaped further punishment.

Sheridan withdrew him and Talbot and Brunt in a triple sub moments later, with Hartley, Ben Purrington and Olly Lee all coming on.

Pools were pushed back as Argyle pressed forward, Alessandra forcing Flinders into a save, while Fenwick blocked a goalbound Lee effort.

In-form FENWICK then extended the lead, scoring a third in the 76th minute.

Duckworth broke forward at pace and he rolled the ball across the penalty area to the former non-league star who curled home his fourth goal in six starts for the club.

It should have been four late on but Bingham blazed his shot over the bar having done the hardwork to carve out the chance.

Reid had a late effort for Argyle diverted for a corner as the visitors put them under pressure.

It was an action packed finish and Sheridan’s side should have had a penalty in the 90th minute - Dan Jones fouled Kelvin Mellor but it wasn’t given.

Sub Olly Lee then made it 3-2 in the final minute, nodding home past Flinders from six-yards out.

Full-Time: Pools 3 Plymouth 2

Pools (4-3-3): Flinders (C), Duckworth, Harrison, Jones, Austin, Bates, Woods, Tshibola, Franks, Bingham, Fenwick.

Subs Not Used: Maxted, Holden, Walker, Harewood, Compton, Featherstone, Richards.

Goals: Franks (8, 54), Fenwick (76)

Bookings: Woods (56), Bates (90)

Plymouth (3-5-2): McCormick, Mellor, Cox, Nelson (C), Alessandra, Reid, McHugh, Reid, Flanagan (Hartley, 68), Talbot (Purrington, 68), Brunt (Lee, 68).

Subs Not Used: Bittner, Norburn, Thomas, Bentley.

Goals: Brunt (30), Lee (90)

Bookings: Flanagan (62), Nelson (62).

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire)

Attendance: 3,291 (264 Argyle)