Hartlepool United 1 Plymouth Argyle 0: Match report
ARGYLE'S miserable run of results continued as they were beaten by 10-man Hartlepool United at Victoria Park on Saturday.
Hartlepool had winger Jack Compton sent-off in the 25th minute for a crude tackle on left wing-back Jamie Reckord.
But the home side still came out on top after an outstanding performance from goalkeeper Scott Flinders.
He made a series of excellent saves as Argyle created chance after chance but failed to convert any of them.
Hartlepool rarely threatened to score all afternoon, but from one of their few opportunities they scored what proved to be the winning goal in the 55th minute.
In-form 18-year-old striker Luke James was not closed down by the Pilgrims' defence and sent a low shot past 'keeper Luke McCormick.
The defeat at Victoria Park leaves Argyle without a win in seven matches in all competitions and increases the pressure on manager John Sheridan.
Argyle's starting line-up on their longest away trip of the season was the same as for the 1-1 draw with Portsmouth at Home Park last Saturday.
There was one change on the bench, with Paul Wotton replacing Guy Branston, who had suffered an ankle injury in training.
Hartlepool included former Argyle captain Simon Walton in their team.
The Pilgrims, who played a 3-5-2 formation as they did against Portsmouth, were in an all-green kit.
Striker Paul Hayes had a goalbound shot charged down by Hartlepool centre-back Jack Baldwin in the sixth minute.
The chance came when Reid raced away on the right after a pass from Hayes following a drop-ball.
Reid cut the ball back to the on-loan Brentford striker and Baldwin did well to get in the way of his goal attempt.
Reid also broke clear of the Pools' defence in the ninth minute and prodded the ball past onrushing 'keeper Scott Flinders.
However, having done that, Reid was tackled by centre-back Christian Burgess before he could shoot.
Flinders made a fine double save in the 18th minute as Argyle continued to push forward confidently.
Argyle were awarded a free-kick 20 yards out after captain Conor Hourihane was tripped by Burgess.
Luke Young's initial shot was straight into Pools' defensive wall, but his follow-up attempt produced a diving save out of Flinders.
The ball rebounded out to Rommy Boco and Flinders made a good block to deny the Pilgrims' midfielder.
Hartlepool had Compton sent-off in the 25th minute after a rash, sliding tackle on Reckord.
Experienced referee Scott Mathieson had no hesitation in brandishing a red card.
There were no complaints either from any of Compton's team-mates, which was a sure sign they knew justice had been served.
Hayes and Hourihane both had shots from inside the penalty area pushed away for corners by Flinders as Argyle piled on the pressure.
Hartlepool midfielder Matty Dolan was booked for a wild challenge on Young in the 34th minute.
It was an awful tackle from Dolan and he was perhaps fortunate not to suffer the same fate as Compton.
Young was also shown a yellow card for a foul on striker Luke James as tempers threatened to boil over.
Hartlepool's only chance of the first half came in the 35th minute.
Winger Andy Monkhouse got on the end of a right-wing cross from James Poole but his header was easily saved by McCormick.
Argyle had one more opportunity to take the lead, following a corner taken by Young.
Centre-back Neal Trotman was at the far post and headed the ball towards goal but somehow it was scrambled away.
Argyle had an early chance in the second period when Reid fired narrowly wide from 20 yards.
Hourihane then crashed a 25-yard shot against a post as a goal continued to prove to be elusive for the Pilgrims.
Lewis Alessandra was sent on as a substitute for Reid before Hartlepool, completely against the run of play, took the lead.
James was not closed down by the Pilgrims' defence and he punished them by slotting the ball low past McCormick.
Before play restarted, Andre Blackman was sent on as a substitute for Reckord.
Flinders was having an outstanding game for Hartlepool and turned another shot from Hourihane away for a corner in the 57th minute.
Argyle pushed forward, but there was an increasing sense of desperation about their play.
The Pilgrims made their third substitution in the 67th minute with Durrell Berry making way for Andres Gurrieri.
Argyle had no shortage of attack-minded players on the pitch but struggled to create clearcut opportunities.
Hartlepool defended solidly and Argyle did not get into good enough wide positions to pull them apart.
Alessandra volleyed over the bar in the 76th minute as he stretched to get on the end of a right-wing cross from Boco.
It was attack against defence, but the Pilgrims could not find a way through.
Trotman had a header from Boco's cross saved by Flinders before defender Maxime Blanchard volleyed wide.
Flinders was proving unbeatable and made another stop from Gurrieri's 20-yarder in the 88th minute.
Time eventually ran out for Argyle and they were left to reflect on a particularly demoralising and painful defeat on their long return trip to Plymouth.
HARTLEPOOL: Scott Flinders; Michael Duckworth (Sam Collins 90 +2 mins), Jack Baldwin, Christian Burgess, Neil Austin; Jack Compton, Simon Walton, Matty Dolan, Andy Monkhouse; James Poole (Jordan Richards 71 mins), Luke James (Jonathan Franks 90 +3 mins).
Substitutes (not used): Andy Rafferty (gk), Antony Sweeney, Nialle Rodney, Bradley Walker.
ARGYLE: Luke McCormick; Maxime Blanchard, Neal Trotman, Curtis Nelson; Durrell Berry (Andres Gurrieri 67 mins), Luke Young, Rommy Boco, Conor Hourihane, Jamie Reckord (Andre Blackman 55 mins); Reuben Reid (Lewis Alessandra 52 mins), Paul Hayes.
Substitutes (not used): Jake Cole (gk), Andre Blackman, Paul Wotton, Tyler Harvey, Hamza Bencherif.
REFEREE: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)
ATTENDANCE: 3,929 (273 away)
GOAL – Hartlepool: James 55 mins