Hartlepool's Leon McSweeney swept home a superb 87th-minute winner to secure a deserved 1-0 win at inconsistent Plymouth.
Pools started well and Andy Monkhouse sent a screaming angled drive towards goal which veteran Plymouth keeper Romain Larrieu managed to turn the ball high up and over the bar to safety.
United keeper Jake Kean saved well from Craig Noone's 18-yard drive in the 33rd minute, with Joe Mason's follow up to the loose ball was deemed offside.
Monkhouse was even closer to scoring in the 55th minute when he latched on to Evan Horwood's free-kick from the right flank, powering a header off the upright.
Onismor Bhasera made a 72nd-minute clearance off the line to keep out Sam Collins' header following a corner but it seemed only a matter of time before the visitors' second-half persistence would pay off.
And they won it with three minutes left when McSweeney powered in his 20-yard effort off the underside of the bar.
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