Date: 31st December 2016 at 6:15pm
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A New Year’s Eve 2-0 win against Crawley Town moved Argyle back to the top of League Two.

A scrappy 2-0 win, top of the league at the end of 2016, job done!

It was literally a game of two halves, for the first half we were lethargic and feel of the game was very low key. Crawley still look to waste time and slow the game down but now play a more passing style of football, they had several good chances but either mis-kicked or headed over.
The second half was a lot different, we played like a team at the top of the league and showed more urgency, the change in the players mindset was Oscar Threlkeld moving across to replace Gary Miller at right-back and both full-backs pushing forward.
Before we scored the killer second goal Luke McCormick made a brilliant save to keep the clean sheet.

Manager Derek Adams made only one change for this game, moving Threlkeld into midfield in place of Smith who dropped to the bench and Ben Purrington returned from injury at left-back.

Not a lot happened during the first half, it was very quiet around the stadium with the voices of the players heard above any crowd noise.

The game was scrappy and stop-start, largely due to Crawley committing some robust challenges, the referee was more interested in issuing yellow cards for dissent rather than for a series of fouls.
The game stopped for injuries to Threlkeld and David Fox.

Graham Carey had a couple of long rage free-kicks that flew over the cross bar and Paul-Arnie Garita was a handful upfront without really threatening the Crawley defence, although he did have one half chance that the keeper easily saved.

At the other end Crawley created some good chances but as players were about to pull the rigger they mis-kicked and Argyle escaped.
For Argyle Miller was having a torrid time and was guilty of regularly giving the ball away.
A half to forget.

For the second half Adams brought on Craig Tanner to play behind Garita, Carey moved into central midfield and Threlkeld moved to right-back to replace Miller.

The change and obvious half-time ‘talk’ from Adams gave Argyle more momentum and urgency.
Centre-backs Sonny Bradley and Yann Songo’o pushed forward 10 yards and both full-back’s (Purrington and Threlkeld) played almost as wingers.
Crawley couldn’t cope and Argyle’s first goal surely wouldn’t be far away.

The goal finally came when a quick throw-in found Fox, he skipped into the area and his cross was cleared to Threlkeld who fired from 10 yards out into the far corner.

Suddenly Crawley were now a lot quicker in taking throw-ins and goal kicks, I wonder why.

Before the goal Naurius Bulvitis was ready to come on and the move still took place with Garita going off and Adams changing to a 3-4-1-2 formation. Jake Jervis and Jordan Slew played as a pair up front, Tanner operated just behind them and Carey dropped back to partner Fox.

We were now content to soak up any pressure Crawley and play on the counter-attack as though we were the away team – which is what we are very good at.

Slew was subbed but the formation stayed the same with Conner Smith playing behind the strike force of Tanner and Jervis.

Crawley also switched to three defenders late in the game and pushed several players further forward.

On the stroke of full-time McCormick made a great low save, just minutes later the killer second goal came when Jervis broke away and found Tanner who slotted home to make the three points safe.

Threlkeld showed his worth to the team by playing in three different positions – midfield, right-back and wing-back – and scoring!

Bradley was again a rock at the back but he does look like he’s carrying an injury and was actually injured late in the game.

McCormick’s handling was superb, it was one of his better games when catching or punching crosses.
Purrington did well, we missed a left foot on that side of the pitch.

Fox and Carey were neat and tidy, again Carey did enough without excelling.

Garita was Garita – all arms and legs and strength.
Jervis had a good game, he was always a threat.

Miller really struggled and it’s difficult to see him replacing Threlkeld.

Will Adams change a few players for the Barnet game in two days time?

Credit to the players for digging in and grinding out a win. Scrappy and scruffy, who cares, it’s a win!

Man of the match: Threlkeld.

McCormick 7, Miller 4, Songo’o 7, Bradley 7, Purrington 7, Fox 6, Threlkeld 8, Carey 6, Slew 6, Jervis 7, Garita 6. Subs: Tanner 6, Bulvitis 6, Smith 5.

It’s worth pointing out that with Brendan Malone as referee we have won seven successive home games without conceding a goal.