Date: 5th March 2016 at 6:05pm
Written by:

Argyle twice battled back to claim a deserved 2-2 draw against a very good Oxford team.

A fantastic game of football, end to end, both teams slugging it out and huge credit to Argyle for showing fight and determination to win what could turn out to be a crucial point.

Two individual mistakes from McCormick and Mellor gifted Oxford the lead – twice but despite the injury set-backs our team never gave up and a huge header from the magnificent Nelson and another from Tanner secured a deserved point and only the crossbar and a clearance off the line stopped Reid from grabbing the winner.

The game was overshadowed by a sickening injury to Hartley just before half-time which seemed to affect our play for the early stages of the second half but we rallied late in the second half and got the equaliser we deserved.

Adams had to contend with yet another injury before the match, this time it was Threlkeld who joined the wounded so Purrington slotted into midfield which meant we started a game without any loan players in the team.

From the first minute you could sense the team were up for this after recent lethargic displays. Jervis and Reid in particular had fire in their bellies.

Hartley was in the action at both ends early in the game, he had two headers cleared off the line and another whistle just wide but soon after he scored an own goal through no fault of his own.
A corner from Oxford saw McCormick make a complete hash of catching it in the six yard box and trying to react Hartley kicked the ball into his own net. Up until then Oxford didn’t trouble us.

The goal didn’t affect us, we kept on getting forward and the getting the ball wide to Jervis and Wylde.
Reid fought off two defenders to send Wylde clear and with only the keeper to beat Slocombe made a great save.

We got the goal our attacking play deserved when an excellent corner from Jervis was met at the far post by Nelson who thumped in a great header.

Jervis and Reid had chances but again Slocombe kept them at bay, Oxford look a good side going forward although they are not so good in defence.

Disaster struck 10 minutes before half time when Mellor lost the ball further upfield allowing Oxford to break away and score with Roofe shooting past McCormick. A common theme from Mellor this season.
McCormick had one of his over the top rants at Mellor, as he has done with Jervis and Nelson this season, it’s horrible to witness it and uncalled for.

Just before half-time Hartley jumped for a ball and landed awkwardly, screaming as he landed. After some treatment he got to his feet but it was clear he was struggling.

For the second half Hartley was subbed and on came Tanner, he played the Carey role behind Reid, Carey moved into midfield, Purrington slotted in at left back and Sawyer partnered Nelson at centre back.

The re-shuffle affected us for at least 15 minutes and only great blocks, tackles and defending from Nelson and Sawyer kept us in the game.

Slowly we settled down and once again took the game to Oxford. A superb Jervis cross found Reid and his header hit the crossbar, he followed up with a shot that was cleared off the line. Oxford were rocking.

Still this absorbing game was end to end and action packed, Carey and Mellor were struggling for form but still gave 100% effort for the team. Fans may see a misplaced pass from Mellor and moan but they seem to miss his tackles and blocks.

Late in the game we got the goal we thoroughly deserved. A Carey corner, which up until then they had been poor, found Tanner and he headed in from close range to make it 2-2 and Home Park erupted!

Soon after Hylton for Oxford hit the crossbar, some of the Greens were struggling with Jarvis, Purrington and Reid all taking time to stretch some muscles.

And that was it, a side low on confidence, missing several key players, who lost another key player during the game, had players playing in unfamiliar positions twice fought back against a team who have been superb away from home.

Well played lads!

Jervis had an excellent game, especially the first 45 minutes and was the player we know from before Christmas.
Reid bullied the two centre backs and was the focal point of the team and was unlucky not to score.

Nelson was magnificent, easily man of the match and Sawyer was not far behind, this could be our centre-back pairing for the next few games.
Purrington deserves credit for coming into the team after not starting a game for so long and playing well in two different positions.

Apart from his howler McCormick had a good game but please cut out the rants at other players.
It’s not nice to see fans single out Mellor, he made a mistake but always gives 100%.
Carey didn’t play well, his passes went astray but he’s another who stuck at it and supplied the corner for the equaliser.

Simpson was neat and tidy and didn’t waste the ball, Tanner didn’t make much of an impression when he came on, although that doesn’t matter because he scored the equaliser!

Not many teams would cope with the loss of Brunt, Forster, McHugh, Hartley and Threlkeld, all regular first team players. The players on the pitch gave everything and that’s all the fans want.

Minor grumbles, the loud pre-match music once again killed any atmosphere and why does it take so long for balls to be returned when they goes out of play, especially on the Mayflower side, it stops our momentum.

Credit to Oxford, they are a good team and were always looking to attack and didn’t use the Wycombe tactics when they were leading.

Man of the match – Nelson.

McCormick 6, Mellor 5, Nelson 9, Hartley 7, Sawyer 8, Purrington 7, Simpson 7, Carey 5, Wylde 7, Jervis 7, Reid 7. Subs Tanner 6, Nardiello n/a.