Argyle 2 – 1 Fleetwood
Wotton (pen) 25. Ball 75.
Cole 8, Blanchard 7, Wotton 8, Branston 7, Bhasera 7, Gurrieri 7(Cowan-Hall 5), Hourihane 7, Cox 7, Bryan 6, Banton 7, Reid 7 (Chadwick 7).
What a cracking game of football and worth flying across the USA to get to DC and to arrive in Plymouth just before kick-off. #jetlagged.
The win was a real team effort, the players were determined to win and were backed from the terraces with the Devonport End leading the way.
As always with following Argyle we are put through the mill before any win is secured and this game was no different with Fleetwood throwing the kitchen sink and their goalie at us in the closing stages but the players held on (when earlier in the season they would have folded) to reach the milestone of 40 points, the same as five other teams. Gulp!
Argyle got the decision their attacking play merited when part-man part-beast Jon Parkin pushed Hourihane in the area and the ref awarded a penalty.
Banton grabbed the ball and wouldn’t give it to Wotton, with most of the stadium and Sheridan begging for Wotton to take it Banton finally relented and gave the ball to Wotton.
Mr PAFC did the business while a few players went to console a sulking Banton. It really doesn’t matter who scores but when one of the best penalty takers in the lower leagues is in your team surely he takes the penalties? It’s something that should have been sorted out before the game.
Banton put that disappointment behind him and scored a great solo goal just before half time.
Cole made two great saves soon after, one was from point blank range and made sure Argyle were not breached before the first half ended.
Argyle weathered the expected second half storm from Fleetwood and looked to be heading for another clean sheet but a clearance rebounded to Ball and he hooked the ball in. 2-1.
In truth, it was the decision to replace Reid and Gurrieri, who were both playing well, that gave the momentum to Fleetwood, although Sheridan couldn’t have known that.
Sheridan switched the formation to combat Fleetwood with Banton going to the left and Bryan having a free role in midfield in a 4-5-1 formation.
Late in the game McKenna picked up a second yellow and with Fleetwood pushing forward Argyle could and should have grabbed a third goal – if only Banton wasn’t so greedy and passed to his team-mates just once in a while, but he was the match winner today so we can’t complain.
Cole made another great save close to the end when he tipped the ball over the bar.
It’s no coincidence that Wotton playing in defence has resulted in four points from six, his experience and leadership will be needed for the final run-in.
Bryan looked lost in the first half but was much better in the second half and also put in some good tackles.
Gurrieri and Reid were unlucky to be subbed; Reid always had two players marking him and literally had his shirt ripped from the constant holding from the two defenders.
Hourihane had a decent game, he seems to have three or four good games followed by a howler before the cycle repeats. Cox was busy and industrious, Blanchard was steady, Wotton and Branston stood up to the man-beast and Banton was his usual fantastic, frustrating, greedy and match-winning self.
The pitch is looking very tired and worn, especially in the two goal areas.
Man of the match: Cole.
Argyle Sink The Fleet
Argyle 2 – 1 Fleetwood