Date: 3rd December 2016 at 6:14pm
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Argyle played out a frustrating 0-0 draw against Newport County at Home Park in the Second Round of the FA Cup.

That was a struggle!

We failed to win against a Newport team who were reduced to 10 players in the 23rd minute when Sean Rigg was red carded and we could only muster four shots on target throughout the game. The plus side is that we are still in the cup and will be ball number 63 in Monday’s draw.

Newport were a typical Graham Westley team – niggly fouls, time wasting and slowing the game down at every opportunity, just horrible, we couldn’t counteract this and the game became very frustrating played in front of an impatient crowd who were quick to criticise striker David Goodwillie at every opportunity, although our attacking momentum suffered when his replacement Louis Rooney entered the game, he barely touched the ball!

We also have a problem with keeper Luke McCormick who’s confidence must have taken a knock during this game because Newport’s best two chances came from his mistakes.

On a day to forget we dropped to third in League Two with Doncaster occupying our old position at the top.

Manager Derek Adams had to chop and change his team due to injuries, Nauris Bulvitis and Ben Purrington were absent because of injury and it appears Bristol City do not want Paul-Arnie Garita cup-tied which indicates he will return to his parent club in January.
Yann Songo’o moved back into defence and Connor Smith partnered David Fox in midfield, Graham Carey played on the left and Goodwillie played up front.

We started very brightly with Carey at the heart of everything good, Goodwillie was neat and tidy laying off balls but we lacked a focal point in attack.
Barnum-Bobb picked up an early yellow card for Newport and for the rest of the game he committed another three fouls that should have earned him a second yellow.
Nevermind, because the red card did eventually arrive when Rigg stretched to tackle Jake Jervis, although another referee might have awarded a yellow card. The Newport fans were annoyed with referee John Brooks and his decisions throughout the game.

The sending off affected us more than Newport who were now galvanised. We always struggle to break down teams who sit back, however Newport should have taken the lead when McCormick made two mistakes – he missed a punch and Songo’o had to clear off the line and then hesitated to collect a long ball allowing a Newport striker to nip in front of him but the danger was cleared.

Our best chance was a Jervis cross to the far post that Oscar Threlkeld somehow kept in, Smith scrambled the ball towards goal but the Newport keeper Day cleared the ball off the goal line.

For the second half Craig Tanner switched to left and Carey moved inside but we still struggled to break down Newport, we had to be careful at the back because Newport now showed more attacking intent and McCormick made a good low save to keep us in the game.

Ryan Donaldson replaced Gary Miller at right-back, he looked to be injured, another one to add to the list.

After giving the ball away several times and the crowd on his back Goodwillie’s confidence was at an all time low and he was replaced by Rooney. In truth, our attacking momentum suffered with Rooney hardly touching the ball during his time on the pitch.

Adams switched to a 4-4-2 formation and brought on youngster Alex Fletcher for Tanner, he was lively and gave us some pace up front.
However, with time ticking away we still were not direct enough and opted to pass sideways instead of pushing forward.

Jervis had a header saved late in the game and that was the end of a frustrating game where we should have won against 10 men but create enough chances.

When you consider our dominant position just three weeks ago I suppose this could be considered a slump – no wins in four games and one goal in four games and the team look very short on confidence and a pale shadow of their former selves, typified by the performance of Carey. For the first 20 minutes he ran the game and had the work rate to match his skill, on one occasion he ran back 70 yards to cover Threlkeld at left-back but as the game wore on he faded.
The team were not helped by a crowd ready to moan at every mistake.

I felt sorry for Goodwillie, he’s not a target man although he did link play but once the crowd were on his back his game was over.

Threlkeld did another good job at left-back and was an excellent outlet on the left. The game finished with a back four that only contained Sonny Bradley as a regular member from previous games this season.
Songo’o also played well in defence although he has a mistake in him.

Will Adams drop McCormick? He makes some very good saves but is now also making two or three mistakes in each game, he got away with those mistakes today.

It was good to see Fox back, he knitted everything together in midfield and Jervis had another good game.

Most players today were functional whereas before they were exceptional in some games.

Man of the Match: Fox.

McCormick 5, Miller 5, Songo’o 7, Bradley 6, Threlkeld 7, Fox 8, Smith 5, Carey 6, Jervis 7, Tanner 6, Goodwillie 6. Subs – Rooney 4, Donaldson 5, Fletcher 6.