A SECOND-HALF collapse saw Hartlepool United beaten 3-0 away at Shrewsbury Town as the gap to safety increased to nine points.
Pools had enjoyed a promising first-half and had the better chances to take the lead but they failed to do so and were made to pay after the break.
A brace from Andy Mangan and another from strike partner James Collins did the damage as Pools suffered their 17th defeat of the season.
Marlon Harewood was straight back in the starting line-up after serving his three match ban, partnering Rakish Bingham up front.
Scott Fenwick dropped down to the bench despite scoring the opener in last weekend’s 2-0 home win over Cheltenham Town.
Midfielder Lewis Hawkins was also back among the subs after a one-match suspension while Brad Walker shook off a thigh problem and started on the bench.
It was a lively first half and there was little to suggest Pools were seven points adrift of safety at the bottom of the league going into the game.
Shrewsbury started the match well, with Scott Harrison denying James Wesolowski - later stretchered off with a leg injury- with a crunching tackle.
Playmaker Liam Lawrence then saw his deflected shot dip just wide in the 11th minute before Mark Ellis powered a free header over the bar.
The best chance of the opening stages came in the 14th minute, striker James Collins slipping before flashing a shot wide.
It was an excellent opening wasted after good build-up play.
Pools though had held their own and after soaking up pressure began to flex their muscles.
In the 26th minute Jonathan Franks burst forward and although he never looked to have control of the ball he did manage to get a show away, prodding the ball just wide of the right-hand post.
It was an entertaining match against a Shrews side who had won 10 and drawn two of their previous home matches in the league.
Moore’s side managed top carve out the best chances too, with Michael Duckworth’s 30-yard effort into the top corner pushed wide for a corner by Jayson Leutwiler.
Andy Mangan then shot inches wide of Scott Flinders’ right-hand post before Bingham saw two efforts go close.
The first deflected shot had Leutwiler scampering backwards to tip over before before a dipping effort from distance went just over the bar.
Harewood was booked just before the half-time break.
Half-Time: Shrewsbury 0 Pools 0
Pools had more than matched their hosts but within five minutes of the re-start Shrewsbury were in front through Mangan’s individual effort.
There was a touch of fortune initially as the ball forward hit the back of his heel but he recovered well and wriggled free inside the area before curling an effort past Flinders.
Compton had an excellent chance to equalise moments later but his header was weak and wayward following a good cross from Franks.
Shrewsbury doubled their lead in the 59th minute with a well-worked goal.
Cameron Gayle played in Grant down the right wing and he delivered a deep cross to Collins at the back post who played a one-two with Mangan before finishing with aplomb past Flinders.
Pools never got going second half and went 3-0 down in the 68th minute, Mangan with a free header to nod home Grant’s cross.
Harewood was then immediately hooked with Scott Fenwick coming on.
Shrewsbury were in cruise control and had further opportunities to add to their lead, with Flinders called on to deny Goldson before Compton was replaced by Lewis Hawkins.
Pools looked strong going forward first half but the second was an altogether different story with the first real attempt not coming until the 80th minute, Aaron Tshibola powerful shot flying over the crossbar.
Franks then forced Leutwiler into a comfortable save with a curling effort.
It should have been four, a ball over the top took out the entire Pools defence but Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro saw his low effort saved by Flinders.
In the end it was a comfortable win for promotion-chasing Shrewsbury as the gap to safety extended ahead of the trip to Tranmere Rovers.
Full-time: Shrewsbury 3 Pools: 0
Shrewsbury (3-5-2): Leutwiler, Grandison, Demetriou, Woods, Ellis, Goldson, Lawrence (C), Gayle, Wesolowski (Grant, 15), Mangan (Akpa-Akpro, 74), Collins (Vernon, 74).
Subs Not Used: Halstead, Vincent, Clark, Randall.
Goal: Mangan (50, 68), Collins (59),
Pools (4-4-2): Flinders (C), Duckworth, Harrison, Jones, Austin, Franks, Tshibola, Woods, Compton (Hawkins, 73), Harewood (Fenwick, 68), Bingham.
Subs Not Used: Maxted, Bates, Walker, Featherstone, Smith.
Booked: Harewood (43), Austin (54)
Referee: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear)
Attendance: 4,601 (Pools 142)