Date: 26th January 2010 at 11:02pm
Written by:

Argyle 1 Derby 0
Mackie 82

Plymouth Argyle came out on top in a hard-fought win against Derby County, watched by the lowest ever crowd for a Championship game at Home Park. Magnificent Jamie Mackie sealed the points for the Greens with a late strike and, although Argyle are still in the bottom three, the win puts them within touching distance of teams just above them in the league.
The Argyle players may lack certain qualities and skill but boy oh boy do they fight and scratch for each other! The match wasn’t pretty or entertaining but each player, whether on-form or not, gave it their all for the cause on a terrible pitch.

Argyle Head Coach Paul Mariner gave a debut to Fulham loan signing David Stockdale in place of Romain Larrieu who had been the only player to start every game this season.
Reda Johnson was restored to heart of defence after his Africa Cup of Nations jaunt while Mackie led the attack once again after a bout of illness.

After the recent problems with the Home Park pitch it was noticeable that both sets of players held their pre-match warm-up on the sides of the pitch and kept clear of the boggy middle areas, at one point the Argyle squad were warming up on a strip of grass off the pitch behind the goal-line.

Argyle started the game at a good tempo and put pressure on the Rams defence with a series of crosses sprinkled with a few corners, however it was Derby who had the first chance when a free-kick from Johnson was headed wide by Campbell.

A long throw from Kari Arnason was cleared to Carl Fletcher 20-yards out, he took aim but fired over the cross bar. Mackie’s strong running was starting to trouble the Derby defence; his willingness to chase lost causes and feed off crumbs brought Argyle, as a team, further up the pitch.

Strong running from Mackie ended with an Alan Judge cross that was met by Rory Fallon but his header flew over the bar when really he should have got his effort on target. The pitch, as expected, started to cut-up but both teams coped well with the heavy conditions.
Stockdale proved his worth with a fine save from Nicky Hunt following a Derby corner.
On the stroke of half-time a mass brawl ensued which ended with Gary Sawyer and Hunt receiving yellow cards for their part in the ‘fight’.

It was clear that the second half would lack quality but with chances at a premium one goal for either team would settle the contest.

Derby had the first chance of the second period when a cross from Pearson was met by Rob Hulse but his shot only troubled the Green Army sat behind the goal in the Devonport End.
Stockdale was the busier of the two keepers with Stephen Bywater fielding back passes and crosses. Remember Bywater? It was him who made a few unpleasant remarks about Plymouth a few years ago, which is strange considering Plymouth is by water!

Another long and strong run from Mackie ended with a shot from a difficult angle that sailed over the bar. It was clear that Mackie represented Argyle’s best chance of winning the game and the one and only tactic was to play it long and over the top for the ‘rabbit’ to chase.

Judge’s corners were, to be frank, terrible. They either went out of play or failed to clear the first defender, both criminal charges in the football world. After another corner was wasted Judge made way for Craig Noone with Chris Clark moving to the right side.
A Luke Summerfield corner (that’s how you take them, Judgy) was met by Arnason’s head but the ball went wide.
Stockdale did well to smother a shot but the loose ball broke to Paul Green who, from four yards out, somehow hit the post when it would have been easier to score, the ball rebounded out to safety. Thank you Mr Green from many Greens!

Stockdale was again in action saving a Hulse shot at the expense of a corner. As the game entered the closing stages there was a tense atmosphere around the ground, would a mistake settle the game? Would a moment of magic seal the three points for one team?

Sure enough it was the one goal that settled it and thank fully it was Argyle who scored it. The natives were also getting restless and wanted Mariner to bring on Wright-Phillips.
A Summerfield 30-yard free-kick was blocked by Shaun Barker but Mackie picked-up the loose ball and fired in a low shot from 12 yards out. Home Park erupted and the fans hailed their hero. 1-0 to Argyle, can we hold on?

Mariner placed extra sandbags around the Argyle defence by bringing on David McNamee and Chris Barker with Reda Johnson and Chris Clark going in the opposite direction.
Just when you’d thought Argyle were safely home the fourth official held up the injury time board, three minutes maximum surely? No, somehow the ref found five minutes of injury time with no physio stepping on the grass, sorry mud, during the second half.
Noone and Summerfield must have watched old videos of Blair Sturrock because both players spent most of the five minutes of injury time playing keep-ball in the corner areas of the pitch/paddy field.

And there was the final whistle, a magnificent three points!

Mackie was Man of the Match even before his goal, he carried Argyle’s one and only threat, but what colour shirt will be wearing next week?
Fallon was back to being, well Fallon! He tries and he fights and the team needs him but we also need a fired-up Fallon that we’ve seen glimpses of in previous games.

Arnason and Johnson were solid at the back, Johnson may look clumsy but he wins a lot of headers and has deceptive pace.
Summerfield and especially Fletcher coped well in the middle on the uneven pitch, if only they supported the front two more. There were too many times when the midfield was slow to get up and support Fallon and Mackie – a minor gripe.

Stockdale commanded his area well and made some smart saves but it seems he’s caught Larrieuitus because his kicking wasn’t the best – a clean sheet is all we can ask for and Stockdale gave us that.
Duguid continues to be a better right-back than midfielder, while Clark is slowing fading away, where is the Chris Clark that destroyed Reading?

Not a great game, we were the better of two poor teams but a win is all that matters at this stage of the season; we can expect more tense and scrappy games like this. Buckle up!

Stockdale 6, Duguid 7, Arnason 7, Johnson 7 (Barker 6), Sawyer 6, Judge 5 (Noone 7), Fletcher 7, Summerfield 7, Clark 5 (McNamee 6), Fallon 5, Mackie 8.

Subs not used: Larrieu, Gow, Wright-Phillips, Barnes.


8 Replies to “Mackie Slays The Rams”

  • i supose after 6 subs and a few petty fouls / booking 5 minutes was reasonable….but at the game i was fuming!

  • I thought it was a myth about time added for making subs? Johnson, Arnason and Mackie were the three stand out players. Nicely summed up.

  • A win is a win but if it wasn’t for Mackie’s goal we would all be sat here saying what an awful game it was. Both teams couldn’t score in a brothel, but we got lucky and found the old girl in the corner that nobody wants! Well done lads!

  • A nice report with a touch of humour. I felt the pitch wasn’t that bad, especially after looking at the photos taken last Friday. Man of the match should be Colin Wheatcroft.

  • We had to win, simple as that, a draw was no good. A big game on Saturday now, Wednesday have won three in a row while we have three wins from four league games, we are two of the form sides in the Championship!

  • the game was dire,the win was so so important effort was good now three more points off wednesday to reel a few more teams in

  • A good report, that with the added humour, was more entertaining than last night’s match.

    Although playable, the pitch was diabolical and a disgrace to the professional game; if anything it had a bigger impact on Argyle’s game, although they should be used to it by now.

    It was great to see Reda Johnson back in defence, he is some athlete and is improving with every game; he seems to fit well with Arnason. The midfield is slowly improving, but up front we are weak, no very weak. The midfield do always give support, but even more so is Fallon, he is not up to the required standard, poor ball control on the ground, can’t run and his heading is a lottery, except in defence. He had several chances last night and they all sailed over the bar, when putting at least one away should have been easier. We need BWP or Barnes out there to help Mackie harry the opponent’s defence with real menace, both may benefit from a run in the team; and with Mariner’s experience he should be able to coach both of them.

    Thank God for Mackie, but how long will we be able to keep him, the big worry now is that he stays until the end of the season and leaves on a freebie; the ploy being to get a big signing on fee from his next employer. There are some elements of the game that leave a bad taste in the mouth, particularly the Brosnan judgement. Let us hope Argyle can persuade Mackie to stay, even if it is on a contract with a transfer clause or two in it.

    Thanx for the 3 points Argyle, it made going to the game worthwhile.

  • WDGreen – Mackie is under contract until June 2011 so he can’t leave on a freebie at the end of this season. Overall it was a scrappy game on a poor pitch, the 3 points was important than entertainment. The crowd was poor and only came alive after the goal was scored, the players need the backing of the fans. A good report.

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