Argyle 2 – 2 Gillingham
Nelson 33. Strevens 38.
Young 79. Barrett 88.
Gilmartin 5, Berry 7, Nelson 8, Purse 7, Bhasera 7, Cowan-Hall 7, Lowry 7, Hourihane 6, Young 7, Feeney 6 (Gurrieri 7), R Griffiths 6 (Chadwick 7).
Subs not used: Cole, Blanchard, S Griffiths, Lennox, Madjo.
A much-improved performance from Argyle following the shambles against Burton on Wednesday. A win would have been well deserved but a late goal from the league leaders saw Argyle collect just a point.
Huge credit must be given to Carl Fletcher for lifting the players after the disappointing display and defeat against Burton. We’ve seen the team play well in patches throughout this season so far, however, against Gillingham the Greens put in a 90 minute performance which was the best seen at Home Park this season.
With Argyle clearly the better team it’s difficult to understand how Gillingham are leading League Two and with an away record of six wins, one draw and one defeat before today.
Despite Argyle’s better performance it was the still the Achilles heel of high balls into the box that was our undoing again.
Darren Purse returned to the team with Max Blanchard dropping to the bench, Rene Gilmartin made his league debut in goal for Argyle and surprisingly Andres Gurrieri and Guy Madjo were dropped.
Once we established ourselves in the game we mixed the play up with short passes and long balls to Rhys Griffiths with Paris Cowan-Hall always a threat on the right wing.
For the first time this season we have an obvious plan at corners; Purse and Griffiths crowded the keeper and tried to leave Nelson free to use his height at the far post and it sort of worked for the first goal because Nelson was free to tap the ball in from close range. A deserved lead for Argyle.
Gillingham finally started to offer a threat in attack and were rewarded with a lucky goal for them and a soft goal to concede for Argyle.
A scuffed shot from Chris Whelpdale found Ben Strevens unmarked and he slotted in from close range. 1-1 and not a fair reflection on Argyle’s attacking dominance.
The second half saw Argyle step up a gear, particularly with the inclusion of Gurrieri who replaced Feeney on 60 minutes.
With the crowd fully behind Argyle (no booing today) the players pushed for a winner and Young’s cracker in the 79th minute should have been just that!
A good move ended up with Young free on the edge of the area and his thumper easily beat Stuart Nelson in the Gills goal. 2-1 and will Argyle hold on?
Gillingham suddenly realised they might just lose on the road for only the second time this season in the league and pumped several high balls into the area. Gilmartin was reluctant to come and claim the high balls and from one of these Barrett headed in from close range to make it two each. A sickening blow for Argyle.
Both teams had chances to win it in the dying minutes but it ended up 2-2 and Gillingham would be happier than Argyle after looking second best for most of this game.
Nelson looks our best defender at the moment; he’s grown in height and as a player and deserved to keep his place in the team following the return of Purse.
You’d expect the tall Gilmartin to come and collect crosses and long throws but he didn’t and the late equaliser came from a cross that Gilmartin should have done better with.
So based on this match Gilmartin has the same fault as Cole – they both do not dominate their area.
The three points were well deserved and we are very unlucky to come away with just the one point. The crowd were magnificent and gave the team full backing, there was no booing today once the fans realised the players were up for this game.
Well done to the players and manager for lifting themselves after Wednesday and putting in a very good performance.
How can the team and certain players look poor in one game and then play well in another game? ‘Inconsistent’ is the buzz word for this season.
Man of the Match: Nelson.
Unlucky Argyle Deserved To Win
Argyle 2 – 2 Gillingham