Date: 1st April 2017 at 6:19pm
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Accrington Stanley took the points in a tense 1-0 win against Argyle at Home Park.

Argyle paid the price (again) for another slow start to the game, we were still in containment mode from the Doncaster game last Sunday and it’s been shown this season that we find it difficult to take the game to the opposition – we have to score the first goal to win a game.

Both goals had a charmed life at each end and both goalkeepers made superb saves, especially Rodak in the Accrington goal while Luke McCormick made two brilliant saves in one-on-one situations. On another day the game could have finished 5-5 with Accrington leading 4-0 at half-time!

Argyle manager Derek Adams tinkered and changed formations during the second half but we just couldn’t find that elusive goal.
With other results going against us we have made it harder for ourselves and set up a finish to the season that is more nervy than it should have been.

Accrington are a good footballing and confident team so it was disappointing to see them turn into Wycombe at times during the game – falling to the ground with ‘head’ injuries and the usual no rush to take thrown-ins. They were helped by a lenient referee who allowed them to play the dark arts.

Adams started with the team that did so well against Doncaster last week but it soon became obvious that the player’s first thoughts were to protect the clean sheet.
We just couldn’t get going during the first 30 minutes.

Right-back Gary Miller gave away a needless free-kick after initially doing well to clear the ball, it rebounded and he dived in to make the challenge and gave away a set-piece near the corner flag. The ball was whipped in and there was Clark to glance in a good header. 1-0.

Soon after it was nearly another goal when McCartan walked through the entire Argyle defence and just had to slot past the advancing McCormick but thankfully McCormick got a hand to his shot. The ball went loose and McCartan dived in the penalty area but the referee got it right and booked him instead of awarding a penalty.

Soon after it was nearly another goal when Accrington’s Kee was allowed a free-header which was saved by McCormick.

Soon after it was nearly another goal when Kee was again in the action but shot too high.

David Fox marshalled his troops and finally got Argyle moving forward, Matty Kennedy was getting some joy on the left and was hacked down by Rodgers – no yellow card

Jimmy Spencer had two chances, the first was a near post effort that was blocked – he toe poked the loose ball into the middle of the area but no player in Green was there and secondly he tried a curling shot that fizzed just wide.

Kennedy and Jake Jervis swapped wings and this time Jervis was hacked down by Rodgers – again no yellow card and unbelievably the foul was given against Jervis!

Onto the second half and no changes.
Any momentum or pressure that Adams wanted his team to exert was stopped by Wycombe, sorry Accrington, who stopped play at every opportunity.
Again we showed no urgency so Adams had enough and made three substitutions, Nathan Blissett, Ryan Taylor and Yann Songo’o replaced Jervis, Kennedy and Spencer and switched to three at the back, wing backs and three players up front in a 3-4-3 formation.
The problem with that is that Oscar Threlkeld hasn’t got a left-foot and Miller struggles as a wing back.

This formation did put more pressure on Accrington but again no clear chances were created.
Meanwhile, it was nearly another goal when Accrington hit the crossbar following a good save by McCormick.

All change again – Songo’o moved into midfield and Adams went with a 4-4-2 formation with Antoni Sarcevic now our right-winger.

This formation finally created some chances but it was all desperate and hurried.
Rodak made some brilliant saves from a Graham Carey shot, a Songo’o header and a Taylor shot. The ball just wouldn’t go in, at this point a draw would be acceptable but Accrington had other ideas and after recovering from their various head injuries they broke away and had just McCormick to beat, he stood strong and made the save and Threlkeld blocked a certain goal by putting his body on the line.

Threlkeld was involved at the other end and saw his far post header bounce down and over the bar.

We should have made the most of this lifeline but the game fizzled out and it was another disappointing home result.

The mindset of the team is to contain and nick a goal, it’s served us well all season but where it goes wrong is if the opposition score the first goal – today was another example.

The slow start to the game cost us the game.

It was surprising that Kennedy and Jervis were subbed, the game was crying out for width and with two big strikers in Taylor and Blissett they needed crosses into the box.
Is Sarcevic a better wideman than Jervis? It was also surprising that Sarcevic wasn’t subbed, he didn’t have a good game.
It could be argued that for all his trickery Kennedy doesn’t provide enough end product.

Spencer struggled on his own upfront, however he did create for himself our two best chances of the first half.

Fox was easily man of the match, he was neat and tidy and got us moving. McCormick was superb with his saves, he just needs his kicking to match his excellent handling.

Accrington had a ploy of closing down our two full-backs during the first half, Miller struggles when under pressure and gives the ball away and Threlkeld hasn’t got a left-foot so he faces inside and plays the ball inside. It’s not Threlkeld’s fault he’s picked to play left-back but the whole dynamic of the attacking threat on the left changes when he switches to his favoured right foot.

I realise fans would rather leave a player upfront when defending a corner, however it’s now 12 games where we haven’t conceded a goal from a corner since using the zonal marking. Small comfort.

A defeat is not the end of the world and we are still in a good position. If Rodak wasn’t so inspired we would have at least drawn today.

Man of the match: Fox.

McCormick 7, Miller 5, Sokolik 6, Bradley 6, Threlkeld 5, Fox 8, Sarcevic 5, Carey 6, Jervis 5, Kennedy 5, Spencer 6. Subs: Taylor 6, Blissett 6, Songo’o 6.