Last Minute Plymouth Winner Shocks Town in 3-2 Defeat
Town lost 2-3 in what was a pulsating and watchable League One tie against Plymouth Argyle at the County Ground last night. Our first defeat in 6 games in all competitions.
Earlier on Tuesday The Adver reported on Peter Reid’s plan to exploit the flanks and cause the narrow Town midfield plenty of problems. This seems an obvious approach to provide our midfield diamond with problems, and the opening half hour was dominated by our inability to respond to their wide threat. So much so, this tactical advantage contributed to Plymouth’s early goalrush and plenty of other real chances… they could have scored 4 or 5.
Wilson only changed the midfield 4 to a flatter formation, with JP McGovern switched to the left side, after 30 minutes of the first half gone. Fortunately, it was after this tactical change that Town started to deal with Plymouth and create a few chances, however the damage had already been done.
Despite the initial Plymouth width advantage, Town’s early defending looked much to be desired and should have dealt with both Plymouth opportunities that resulted in goals.
First it was goalkeeper David Lucas who was squarely at fault as he failed miserably to meet a long throw from Kari Arnason and Reda Johnson rose above to head the ball with little challenge into an empty net. Those Town fans who’ve seen Lucas’ recent poor composure, decision making and control of his penalty area as displayed at Walsall would be very concerned about the erratic form of the Town no.1 which has directly resulted in 2 goals conceded in 3 games.
Of course I can and should blame Lucas for his error, but rightly I must also point out the many excellent saves he made from close-up and long range throughout the match which kept the scoreline semi-decent and us in the match. Like I said, it could have been 4 or 5 to Plymouth.
Plymouth’s second came shortly afterwards with only 4 minutes between the goals. It came from the first of two pinpoint crosses from the left side – the second would turn the game completely later in the game – where Lucas was beaten and the covering Douglas was caught in two minds and couldn’t clear, Bradley Wright-Phillips pinched a second.
David Prutton has been rightfully singled out this season by myself and others as a weak link in the Town midfield, however I’ve come to realise this has been as much the fault of Wilson who had failed to get Prutton and Douglas to work together in a 2 man central pairing. Last night was perhaps Prutton’s best performance in a Town shirt, albeit later his game was tarnished with a second deserved booking with 14 minutes left to play.
When you are trailing 2 goals behind you need some magic, a goal from out of nowhere to turn the game. It was Prutton who provided this goal and the impetus to spur us forward in the 37rd minute when a full 25 yards out he tried his luck and found the far corner of Romain Larrieu’s net.
From then on the game swung in Town’s favour with chances either side of half time for Pericard, Dossevi and Rose, who got the deserved equaliser to curl in a well placed free kick at the Town End from 25 yards. I can’t remember when I’ve seen 2 Town goals from 25 yards in one game!
With the game standing at 2-2 it was anyone’s, but perhaps a draw was the ‘deserved’ result for both teams.
No team can account for the the outstanding pinpoint cross from Noone, again from the left, and well-placed header that secured the third goal and the 3 points for Plymouth.
The irony in the Plymouth winner was that it arrived in the 96th minute. The fourth official had only indicated a minimum of 5 minutes added time, concurrent with the decision to give Reda Johnson his marching orders for his second booking. To say Johnson left the pitch slowly is an understatement! The referee didn’t rush him and indicated by looking and pointing at his watch that he would be adding on additional time to compensate for the wastage…that was ultimately profitable for Plymouth in the time added on at the end. But clearly the more pressing question is why we could build on our obvious advantage going into those last 6 minutes?