A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
On This Day:
Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Argyle saw their eight-match unbeaten run come to an end against Burton Albion at Home Park this afternoon. It was a frustrating afternoon for Argyle with the only goal of the game, scored by Burton striker Adam McGurk, coming in the 12th minute. Argyle: McCormick, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Reckord (Boco), Gurrieri, Young, Hourihane, Obadeyi (Lavery), Alessandra, Reid. Substitutes (not used): Cole, Blackman, Branston, Blizzard, Wotton.
Not only is Argyle's form improving in terms of results, but we are leading the way in terms of innovations that aim to to detect and prevent illness, injury and optimise performance according to performance manager John Harbin. In spite of Argyle's modest position in the football league pyramid, Harbin says that the use of this technology is trend setting in football and that it has been very useful in improving the performance of our players this season. Harbin said: "This scientific test is an addition to the team that no other club has got. We're trend-setters, and we're welcoming the scientific input. The problem with training is knowing when to stop. If you keep going without having enough recovery time, you can seriously damage yourself. But if you stop training when you still have capacity, you won't be as fit as you could have been. The ABEL-Sport test can show me when a player's heading towards overtraining, before it happens, so I can adjust what he's doing in the gym or the pool and keep him in match-fit condition. The test also detects some infections before any symptoms appear, so I can isolate a player or send him for treatment to prevent it becoming a problem for him or even for the whole team. We've always had our assumptions and observations, but now we have the scientific evidence as well. This test is the vital link. The first time we sat down to go through the test results, Dr Knight didn't even know the identities of the players she'd tested – but the tests showed that the six players who needed closer monitoring were exactly the same six I'd been privately concerned about. You might ask why I need the tests now that they've shown my own assessments were accurate anyway, but the tests also show me things I couldn't possibly have known, such as when a player has an infection but isn't yet showing symptoms. It's vital that there's a respect between players and coaches, and that's so evident at Plymouth Argyle. The testing has made the players feel more involved in their own health and fitness, and they turn up for the finger-prick blood testing every week without a grumble."
Teenage striker Tyler Harvey finally found a loan move away from the club after being listed as available for a loan last week and he will be working under a former Argyle striker. Salisbury City's assistant manager is Warren Feeney and they made an approach at the last minute to take Tyler away from Home Park until January the 4th. John Sheridan spoke of his happiness that Harvey will get getting games under his belt: “It’s no good for him, at this stage, to be coming on for the last five or ten minutes. I’ve done it before with young players and they have always come back better players. I’ve spoken to Tyler and he’s willing and well up for it. Hopefully he’ll go and get games, and score one or two goals, and come back a better player for us. That’s the aim of letting him go out on loan. It’s for the sake of the lad getting football.”
Neal Trotman has expressed a desire to stay at the club after his initial 6 month contract expires in January but is not worried about the situation. Trotman has been a hit with the fans at home park and has been a regular in Argyle's good run of form with a much improved defensive record in the last couple of months. Trotman said: “A few people have been asking me, but I haven’t really thought about it, to be honest. I’m not going to stay up at night thinking about it. I’m going to come in, train well, play well and, hopefully, I can play myself into a new contract. In the meantime, there is nothing I can do. I have just got to see what happens.” Trotman also believes that the luck which Argyle were lacking earlier in the season has now finally turned in our favour: “That luck we needed has come, and also we are a new team in terms of playing together. It takes time, but I think we are stating to gel and things are coming together. Me, Maxie, Nelse and Durrel are doing quite well together. We have an understanding now and things are starting to come together. Hopefully, we can carry it on. You have to learn when to cover and when to go for headers. The more games we play with each other the more we get used to each other.”
John Sheridan praised the fighting spirit of both sides in Argyle's 1-1 draw with Torquay last night, defining the game as a 'typical derby'. Whilst admitting the style of football left something to be desired, the manager was happy with the strength of character: “Credit to Torquay. They were in our face and didn’t allow us to try to play. They put us on the back foot with early balls up to the front men, and we had to do the ugly things. We battled away and I thought the back four and the ’keeper worked their socks off to keep us in the game. It was a good battling performance. We are still unbeaten in eight. Three or four weeks ago, we might have lost that; last season, we might have lost that, but you can see the desire to try to get something out of each game. We dug in and we got a point. I think we deserved a point. You can see the lads are fighting for each other. It was a typical derby. I don’t think it was a great game to watch but there was lots of effort from both sets of players. There wasn’t much quality football but I think both teams put 100% in. I’ve watched derbies and played in them and sometimes you just don’t get the football you want from them.”
Further praise was reserved for Luke McCormick who had another game in which his impressive form was continued, making more than one fine save. Sheridan: “Luke made one wonder save in the first half, an unbelievable save. He’s playing at the top of his game at the moment. I thought he played really well. He was a bit more involved than I would have liked, but that’s what he’s there for – he’s a very good keeper.”
Argyle have extended the unbeaten run to 8 games following a 1-1 draw in the shortest away fixture of the season at Torquay United. Elliot Benyon put Torquay ahead just 3 minutes in on the rebound from a fantastic Luke McCormick save but Reuben Reid converted from the penalty spot just five minutes later after a Luke Young free kick hit the hand of a gulls defender. Both teams had chances for the rest of the game with the home side having the better of them but there were no further goals. Argyle: McCormick, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Berry, Gurrieri (Lavery), Hourihane, Young (Blizzard), Obedayi (Boco), Reid, Alessandra. Subs unused: Cole, Reckord, Wotton, Harvey.
Argyle have announced that all of their allocation of tickets for the away game at Torquay United have now sold out. With Argyle now on a fine run of form, the Green Army have snapped up all tickets available for the Devon derby, which takes place at Plainmoor on Tuesday evening.
Luke Young has no doubts what is behind the Pilgrims’ transformation from a team that could not win to one that cannot be beaten. "Hard work and dedication from everybody - sticking at it,” said Luke after the Dagenham match. “There are games which we have lost when we have been on top but there’s one goal where the opposition have got the lucky break. But we have kept doing what we are doing, everybody’s stuck together, and things are starting to change.” Luke has noticed the difference at Home Park since the worked-for reversal of fortunes. He said: “Even when we got two draws early on, there was a different vibe at the place. Everyone’s going in with a smile on their face; training is a lot more bubbly – there’s a lot more tempo to it; and keeping this run going gives everybody a massive boost. I think you can say that times are stating to change for us. We’ve gone round a little corner, and now we’re looking up the league, instead of down it. We can’t get carried away, and no-one is, but we have got to take a lot of positives. To go seven games unbeaten – and four of those were wins, and we’ve kept a few clean sheets in recent games and started to score a few goals – is good, but we have got to keep our heads down.”
Luke Young also welcomed the arrival of the Caolan Lavery. The 21-year-old arrived at Home Park on loan from Sheffield Wednesday on Friday, and had a brief substitute’s role in the following day’s 2-1 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge in which Luke scored the winning goal. Caolan has been in good scoring form for the Owls’ development team and Luke said: “That’s what everybody wants at a professional club. You want to have competition to fight for places; no place is guaranteed here. If you can keep everybody on their toes, everybody sharp, whoever comes in will know what their job is and everyone will support them.” Luke and Caolan now turn their thoughts to Tuesday’s Devon Derby at Torquay. Luke said: “We are coming off the back of a great win; Torquay have got beaten. They will have something to prove; we are going there with a lot of confidence. What a game to play in, especially for a local lad like me. All the boys are really looking forward to it.”
John Sheridan believes Argyle’s second-half performance in their 2-1 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge shows they are a match for anyone in the division. After a tight first half which saw Reuben Reid open the scoring late in the first half – and Daggers’ striker Zavon Hines equalise even later – spirits could well have been low in the dressing-room at half-time. However, Sheridan was quick to make sure his players were focused and ready to come out and play better in the second half. John said: “I told the lads at half-time we have to do a lot better and raise our game and – full credit to them – they did. I thought we were excellent - a really good performance to win a football game. If we play like we did in our second-half performance, we’re as good as any team in the division.” Argyle grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck after half-time, showing real attacking intent, pressing high up the pitch and, in the gaffer’s words, “nullifying” any threat Dagenham attempted to create. John was extremely impressed with the positive reaction he saw, and believed performances like that would cause problems for any opponents. He said: “That’s exactly what I want from my players. If they give me that every Saturday, we’ve got a chance to do alright in this division. The will to win, desire and work-rate all over the pitch, from 1-11, was brilliant. We worked our socks off and caused them lots of problems.” Spearheading Argyle’s second-half display was a front two of Lewis Alessandra and Reuben Reid, who looked filled to the brim with confidence when his surging run earned his team a free-kick for Luke Young to put away excellently after 77 minutes. Sheridan was eager to point out the effect the attacking duo had after the break. “I thought Reuben and Lewis in the second half were a real handful,” he said, “I’ve said many times ‘Retain the ball in the opposition’s half, and you give yourself an opportunity. If you can keep the ball you’ll frustrate them’, and that’s what we did, especially in the second half.” With his team now sitting in 14th place, Sheridan insisted that if the players continue to play at this level, they will find themselves in a position that their performances deserve. John said: “If we keep climbing the table slowly, and no-one takes notice of us, then suddenly you think there might be a chance.”
The storming second-half Home Park performance against Dagenham & Redbridge produced “a massive win” for the Pilgrims, according to deciding goalscorer Luke Young. “It was a massive win to everyone,” said Luke, “a great team performance. I think we thoroughly deserved the three points.” Luke’s winning moment came after team-mate Reuben Reid’s rampaging run on goal had been blocked off. "I thought: ‘I’ve got to put it right, here’ because, in the back of my mind, there were few free-kicks before that haven’t really been what I know I can do,” he said. “What a great time to put it right – 1-1; being on top of the game; at home; in a big game. To see it finally go in was a great relief. It was about time another one went in. I fancied it when I walked up to it, and had a discussion with Conor about deciding which way to go. They had a massive gap around the wall and it looked like the ’keeper was kind of giving it to me. I just thought to myself: ‘Keep a good technique; keep your eye on the ball; get it round the wall.’ If you put enough pace on it, it goes on target, and, luckily enough, it went in. To get it up and over the wall or to try to beat the ’keeper on the ’keeper’s side, you would have had to have been two yards further out. Round the wall was on and, with it being greasy on the pitch, if the ball hits the surface and it’s on target, and the ’keeper gives me that space, it goes in.” The first half had seen the visitors edge proceedings. However, Reuben scored his fourth goal in two games and four days in the 44th minute to put Argyle ahead, only for Zavon Hines to immediately equalise. “It was always going to be a tight game, and that showed in the first half,” said Luke. “To go in level was not too bad, but, considering we scored and they scored straight away, was a little bit disheartening. Credit to the lads, everyone stuck together and I think we deserved to win. Dagenham & Redbridge had a little spell at the start of the second half were they might have had an attempt on goal, but, credit to everyone, we dug that period out, because you are going to get that in games; you can’t be on top all the time. After that 10-15 minute spell, we dominated the game, controlled the game. We pressed them high up the pitch, I think that was the key. We won the ball back quite often; we got them on the back foot. That shows the battling qualities of the team. Even before we went 2-1 up, we created chances and looked on top. Then, to get the goal and grind it out – and even then, we could have probably got a third one, with Tope's effort at the end, and a couple of more chances.” Luke also welcomed the return to scoring form of team-mate Reuben. He said: “Everyone knows that’s what he can do, and it was just a case of getting a little bit of confidence and scoring some goals. He has worked hard and it’s starting to show on the pitch.”
Argyle made it seven unbeaten in all competitions with an impressive 2-1 win over Dagenham at Home Park. Reuben Reid scored a cracking 44th-minute solo opener, running at Dagenham before letting fly with a right-footed 20-yard strike that went in off the inside of the post. Argyle's joy was short lived as the visitors responded within a minute. Luke Young secured all three points with a spectacular 77th-minute free-kick from outside the area. Argyle: McCormick, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Berry, Gurrieri, Young, Hourihane, Obadeyi, Alessandra (Blizzard), Reid (Lavery). Substitutes (not used): Cole, Blackman, Boco, Wotton, Harvey.
Striking while the iron is hot, Argyle manager John Sheridan has boosted the Pilgrims’ attacking options less than 48 hours after their 5-0 hammering of Lincoln City. Sheffield Wednesday forward Caolan Lavery arrived at Home Park – on loan until the new year – on the eve of the home League 2 clash against Dagenham & Redbridge, fresh from international duty with Northern Ireland Under-21s. John, a former Wednesday player, said: “I’ve watched him a few times and I’ve had really good reports on him. He’s played in the reserves and been involved with the first team at Sheffield Wednesday – I know a few people there and they said: ‘No danger – take him.’ He scores goals at reserve-team level, so hopefully he will come in here, try to get a few starts, and get a few goals for us. He’s really keen to come and play. I’m very pleased to get him.” With Reuben Reid and Lewis Alessandra on the scoresheet against Lincoln, and fellow loan player Tope Obadeyi netting in the previous league game at York, Argyle’s striking options look lush. John said: “Like I’ve said before, we know the need for goals and hopefully Caolan will come in, give us that extra bit of bite, and push the people who are already here. It’s not a case that you bring some in and they are guaranteed to play. It’s competition for places and he’ll add to what we’ve got. I don’t worry who scores the goals. It was good that Reuben got his hat-trick and Lewi got the other two the other night, but I want them all pushing each other. I don’t want anyone feeling comfortable in the position they are playing and think they are guaranteed a place. It doesn’t work like that with me. I want people who want to fight to get in the team.”
Argyle’s youth team boss Kevin Hodges has promised his players will remember their FA Youth Cup heroics for the rest of their careers – however long they happen to last. Hodges’ under-18s earned themselves a third-round trip to Premier League outfit Aston Villa after a stunning victory at Colchester United. The game went to penalties after the young Greens led three times in normal time and then 4-3 in extra-time. Each time, home team Colchester pegged the Pilgrims back with an equaliser. Inevitably, the tie went to penalties. Less inevitably, given that Argyle were playing away from home, they held their nerve and won the shoot-out 4-2. Kevin said: “It certainly was an incredible game – one in which both teams played their hearts out. It was a game that was played in the right spirit and in a sense, it’s one of those matches where neither side deserved to lose. I was thinking what will be, will be. However, we showed a little more strength mentally to win the game." Hodges added: “I was proud of the boys – they were magnificent. We were actually short of a few of our more experienced players.” Hodges said the team had really earned their trip to Aston Villa, “A few of the boys were going down with cramp during the game. Now we’ve got the opportunity to go to Aston Villa, but that’s what the cup is all about. It puts the young players we have here in good stead for the future and, even if some of them don’t progress in football, then it’s something to look back on. I’m very pleased for the boys – they earned this opportunity. It’s something to look forward to and it’s probably the biggest day that some of the young players are going to play.”
John Sheridan hailed the performance of his players as "very professional", after brushing Lincoln City aside in their FA Cup First Round Replay. Once Reuben Reid and Lewis Alessandra had put the Greens ahead in the fourth and fifth minutes respectively, the game already looked tied up against a leggy-looking Lincoln side. Once Reuben doubled his tally with a penalty after 24 minutes, Argyle were cruising, but the boss wasn't one for complacency. "I don't know if you're watching me but I'm still moaning from the sidelines at 4-0 and 5-0,” said Sheridan, "I want us to do things well. No disrespect to Lincoln, but when we made mistakes, I don't think Lincoln punished us." Being 4-0 up at half time, the second half always had a struggle on its' hands to live up to the opening 45 minutes, but a 65th minute strike from Alessandra - officially given as an own goal by Imps defender Andrew Boyce - put some gloss on a very stylish and confident Argyle performance. "I thought it was a very professional performance," John said, "The main thing was getting through the tie, but I thought some of the football we played was outstanding. I know that Lincoln are a league below us, but when we passed the ball, it was very positive, and to get 5 goals and a clean sheet again can only give us confidence. I thought we got the game won early on in the first half. We got them on the back foot, and I said that to the players. I told the lads at half time I wanted more goals. Jake's made a great save at 1-0, so it could've been different, but I think we totally dominated the game, and I think in most games when you're four or five up, you take your foot off the gas and get lackadaisical, which we did at times, but it was a very good performance." Argyle's reward for their 5-0 triumph is another home tie against another non-league side, Welling United, on the weekend of the 7th and 8th of December. However, the manager knows no chickens will counted in the Home Park coop. "I said to the players that they've got an opportunity, but I didn't take Lincoln lightly," said John, "It was a tough game at their ground, so I told the players to not take them lightly, because if you do you'll come unstuck. We know who we're playing next round - we've got another non-league team so it just gives us a really good opportunity. Welling will be a very tough game. We'll take it very seriously, we'll have them watched, and we know they can be a threat on their day if we're not at the races, but we were at the races today, and that was a big plus for us. We didn't give them a chance to get in the game, and I thought we really punished them."
Reuben Reid believes Argyle’s demolition of Lincoln City in the FA Cup with Budweiser can boost the Pilgrims’ league form. “These games are one-offs,” said Reuben, who netted in the fifth, 23rd, and 35 minutes, “and we want to have another positive game against Welling. If we can turn those over, we can look forward to maybe getting a massive tie. It’s a great opportunity.” Reuben will lead the Argyle line again on Saturday, when Dagenham & Redbridge visit Home Park in a League 2 encounter, and he said: “We have got to concentrate on pushing up the league table and getting the wins, because we need to make the play-offs this season, no doubt about it, and I believe, in my opinion, we can get there – 100%. With the squad the gaffer has assembled, and the training and work we do, this has got to be Plymouth’s season to really do something. I don’t think there is going to be a better opportunity to get out of this division. The league’s proving that anyone can go out and beat anyone. If we keep the level of performance up and, when we’re dominating matches, turn it into goals, we can slowly, but surely, climb the table. Things like tonight will bring confidence. If you look at the finishes of the goals we scored, they were pretty assured, so you can tell that people were confident. I believed, up until I came back here, that confidence had nothing to do with football and I know now that was a load of rubbish. Confidence, for me, is not when you run on the pitch and say ‘I’m the best player here’, it’s when you are in front of goal the difference between sidefooting tamely to the ’keeper, or putting your foot right through the ball.” Reuben is now hoping the growing confidence of himself and the team will translate into more goals for all. He said: “I think my all-round game has been pretty sound, really, throughout the time I have been at the club, but, for whatever reason, I have just not delivered the amount of goals I should have. I can’t really put my finger on it. I think that, in the last few weeks, we have become a team that is going to enable strikers to score more. Before, I don’t think we were a team that was creating a lot of chances to enable players to have goalscoring opportunities. In the last month or so, we have really come on in that department and we are really dominating games, chances-wise. Now, it’s a case of converting those.”
Reuben Reid scored the first hat-trick by an Argyle player in more than seven years as the Pilgrims cruised into round two of the FA Cup with a 5-0 win over Lincoln City. Argyle took a 2-0 lead against Lincoln inside five minutes, courtesy of Reid and Lewis Alessandra. Reid converted a penalty later in the first half before completing his hat-trick in only the 35th minute with a clinical finish. An own goal from Lincoln centre-back Andrew Boyce completed the scoring in the 64th minute. Argyle will play another Conference Premier club Welling United in the second round at Home Park. Argyle: Cole, Berry, Blanchard, Hourihane (Blizzard), Alessandra (Boco), Reid (Harvey), Young, Trotman, Nelson, Obadeyi, Gurrieri. Substitutes (unused): Blackman, Branston, Bencherif, McCormick.
A win on penalties after a hard fought 4-4 draw at Colchester United saw Argyle’s youth team earn a plumb visit to Aston Villa in the FA Youth Cup. A thrilling match saw Colchester grab a late goal to take the game into extra time and another late equaliser to force penalties. Argyle won the shoot-out 4-2.
The last time Argyle were taken to a replay in the FA Cup was probably the lowest point in the club’s on the field history when they lost 2-1 to Stourbridge. If John Sheridan holds sway, that will not be repeated two years down the line when Argyle host Lincoln City. “We’re the home team and I expect us to win the game,” he declared unequivocally. “I’ve explained to the lads that I want to be positive and really get at Lincoln, get them on the back foot. It will be a very tough game. If you are playing non-league opposition, the players always raise their game and Lincoln gave us a really good test in the first game. We’re wary, we know what the threats are, and we’ve worked hard to hopefully nullify them.” Both teams will need to raise their game from weekend showings if they are to progress to a home second-round tie against Welling United. “I thought we would have gone into the York game with a lot more confidence and belief that we could win the game,” said John. “I felt, attacking-wise, that we didn’t really get at them. We started playing once York had scored and I’d brought the subs on. We looked like a team at the top of the league, the way we performed in the last 20 minutes. We got ourselves in the game and could have won it in the end. I expect a lot better from us. I thought one or two of our players looked tired, so I’ll possibly make one or two changes. The good thing about the last few weeks is that the subs who have come on have shown me they want to be in the side. I always make it clear – ‘Be ready for when you come on and impress me and try to affect the game’. One or two of the subs that have come on have done that, so they have given themselves a good chance of starting. Lincoln will come and make it very hard. They got beat 4-1 at the weekend, but they were the better team. They played really well. It’s a funny competition and there are always upsets, even in the first round, so we have got to make sure we get through to the next round. I’ve seen all the results in the FA Cup and we’ll take nothing for granted. We have got everything to lose; everyone expects us to win. I’m expecting a very hard game, but we have got to be confident that we can see the game through. We have got to start well, get on the front foot, and get them on the back foot early on in the game.”
Argyle's youngsters will be also have the chance to progress in a cup competition when they take on Colchester United in the FA Youth Cup. The game kicks off at the Weston Homes Community Stadium at 7pm. After a 4-1 win at home to Bristol Academy, Kevin Hodges’ fledglings now face a tough assignment in round two, given that prior to a defeat last weekend, Colchester had won their previous thirteen games. “We know it’s a tough task,” said Kevin, “Colchester have only lost one or two games all season. But it is an opportunity for us to perform on a big stage and do ourselves justice. If we take the positive things we did against Bristol Academy then we have a good chance of progressing. It’s part of the progression of our young lads. They get to experience what it is like to play at the top end of the scale again. We’ve been fortunate that the club have let us have an overnight stay. We’ll train Wednesday morning then prepare for the game.” While obviously not contain the glamour of its senior counterpart, the FA Youth Cup nevertheless retains a level of prestige within the game, and should Argyle’s burgeoning stars of tomorrow be successful, it can only help the atmosphere around the club. “Hopefully we’ll both go through,” said John Sheridan, “It’s always good for the club and keeps things ticking over. It’s a bit of excitement for the young players especially. It’s always good to well in the FA Youth Cup, and they’ve got a tough game at Colchester. It’s a long trip. They’ve set off and they’re staying overnight. They’ve gone a bit big time! But good luck to them; I hope they do well.”
With another League 2 point secured, the focus at Home Park now switches to the FA Cup Wednesday’s first-round replay with Lincoln City. “We’re at home – I expect us to win the game,” said John Sheridan, after Saturday’s 1-1 League 2 draw at York. “We will have to play a lot better than we did today. We will have to be on our game to win it. We’ll get ready for what is going to be a tough game. I’ll pick my strongest team. Whatever team I pick will be the team that I hope is going to win us the game. A home second-round tie against Skrill Premier Welling awaits the victors of the tie, and Argyle captain Conor Hourihane said: “The Cup is just as important as the league, especially to the club – it brings in money. If you get into the third round, you never know who you can get drawn against. We want to win every match we play in and we’ll see how far that takes us.”
John Sheridan has declared himself disappointed with a game in which Argyle were dominated by hosts York for the larger part of the match until the introduction of Tope Obedayi, Luke Young and Andres Gurrieri changed proceedings. The manager was forthright about the performance throughout much of the game but was sure to acknowledge the contribution of Luke McCormick and the overall improvement of the side in the last 20 to 30 minutes. Sheridan said: “For 70 minutes, I though we were very poor, probably the worst we’ve played this season. I’m really disappointed with the performance, but I thought we finished really strong and could have nicked it in the end.“We could have been two or three down at half-time – I thought we were shocking in the first half. Luke’s kept us in the game, first half. We were terrible. I’ll hold my hands up. I don’t think we had a corner. I think we had one shot – we just didn’t get going. Even for 20 minutes of the second half, we were very flat. I said to the players ‘I don’t want to wait for 70 minutes for us to turn up.’ The game could have been over and done with. Tope and the subs came on and gave us a bit of a lift,” he said “We went to 4-4-2 and got back in the game. Tope has been here a week now and I can see he’s got that spark about him and I’m pleased he has got his first goal. We’ve played 3-5-2 for the last six or seven games but I was looking at us, thinking ‘Have we just started playing this today?’ I always say, before the game: ‘If you’re a sub, make sure you are watching the game and how you can affect it.’ When you bring a sub on, you hope they can make a difference, and that’s what my subs did today. We just retained the ball a little bit better. You’ve got to work hard to keep it – it doesn’t come easy, keeping the ball. I just don’t think we made any attempt for 70 minutes to control the game. It’s positive that we finished really strong and we looked like the team that was going to win it in the end. So I’m happy with a draw, to get something out of the game. I think it’s important that we try to get something out of our next league game. Dagenham is a big game.”
These are sentiments echoed by skipper Conor Hourihane. Hourihane said that although we played badly, there was positive signs to be taken from the way we dug in towards the end to secure a result. Hourihane: “It was a strange game. Very strange. For 70 minutes, we just didn’t get going whatsoever, all over the pitch. It wasn’t good, to be honest. I can’t put my finger on it because we have never had that this season before. It was probably the worst we have played all season, but we definitely finished strong and we got there in the end. Luke kept us in it big time – credit to him – and, if you keep going in football, sometimes you get your rewards. We got a chance and, luckily, Top put it away. If I’m being honest, I think we should have nicked it. We had good chances, in the second half especially; in the first half, we probably weren’t great but, in the second half, we had the better chances and the better of the possession. It shows the character in the squad. We’ve had two 0-0s and two late wins, which shows great character, to come back from 1-0 down shows more character; and it shows even bigger character when we really didn’t play well. So credit to the lads, and credit to Top who came on and made a difference for us. Hopefully it will stand us in good stead.”
Argyle have maintained their unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw at York City. York opened the scoring shortly after the break having dominated the first half but a string of Argyle substitutions made the difference. Luke Young, Andres Gurrieri and Tope Obedayi came off the bench and it was the latter who scored for Argyle to equalize not long after the hour mark. Neither side could find a winner. Argyle: McCormick, Blanchard, Trotman, Branston (Gurrieri), Berry, Nelson, Hourihane, Boco (Obedayi), Reckord (Young), Reid, Alessandra. Unused subs: Cole, Blackman, Blizzard, Harvey.
Argyle's quest for a loan striker continues. John Sheridan has said that of his two foremost targets, one is yet to finish a loan spell at another club and the other is currently representing his country: “One of the players I have asked about is at a club already,” said John. “He’s playing his last game on loan somewhere else. We’ve monitored him. Another player is away on international duty at the moment and not available to play for us this weekend. I’ll chase them both up and either one of them will do, if I can get one of them. Hopefully, after the weekend, when they are both going to be back and available, something will happen. I would take either. I’ve got a budget and I know what money I’ve got.”
Sheridan has also praised the defensive work on his side in having now gone around 500 minutes without conceding a goal- something which has not been recorded since the winter of 2003/4 when Luke McCormick was our keeper the last time. He acknowledged however that this would take a tough test at Boothham Crescent on Saturday where the hosts York have lately been scoring a goals for fun: “We’re doing okay at the moment. We’re improving. We’re creating more chances. We’re not playing great, but we’re keeping clean-sheets. That’s a good start, but I’d like us to play a lot better; I’d like us to believe in ourselves a lot better because I know we can play. We’ve played in patches and we are getting better as a unit and getting used to the system, but I think there is lots for improvement. After a bad run, we’re on a little run of keeping clean-sheets, but we’re playing catch-up, and, sometimes, draws aren’t as good as you want, so we know the importance of trying to win games. If you don’t concede a goal, you have always got a chance of winning. Full credit to whoever’s played – it’s 1 to 11, not just the defenders and the ’keeper. We work very hard to make it as hard as possible for the opposition to give us problems. They are scoring goals. They put four past Portsmouth earlier on; four past Scunthorpe; three at Bristol Rovers last week. So we know what to expect – it will be a very tough game – but we’ve stood up and defended really well and I am sure we can cause them one or two problems, going forward. When we are under the cosh, we have got to stick together and hopefully see it through. Hopefully, we will have opportunities in the game, and we have got to take them when we do.”
Finally, he went on to express his hopes that Bury loan signing Tope Obadeyi will bring a touch of pace and directness to Argyle's left hand side that has been missing this season and could hopefully provide the missing link. Sheridan said: “When I first came in last season, I think everyone would agree, down the left side, we were very strong, with Banton, Bryan, and Baz who were all very, very quick players and got us 30-40 yards up the pitch very quickly. I think we’ve missed that a little bit this year, but I think Toppie is that kind of player. You could see him in bits when he came on last Saturday; he is very direct and quick – one of the quickest players I’ve coached. He will give us that extra bit of pace we have been looking for.”
Argyle have announced that half-season memberships are now on sale for what promises to be an exciting conclusion of our 2013-14 campaign. By signing up for this special offer, you can watch 12 games for the price of 10 - making a saving of at least £38. An adult Half-season Membership will cost £190, with the price dropping to £140 for over 65s, serving armed forces, students and those aged 21 and under.
Another ticket offer to celebrate the holiday season has also been announced. Argyle are offering a deal for families in the pre-Christmas fixture when Bury visit Home Park on 21st December. A family ticket in the FIL Family Zone For All - that is one adult and one under 18 - will cost only £15. Even better, for every additional under 18 family member you bring along to the Zone, it will cost you just £1 each. For example, one adult bringing along four kids will only pay £18 for the whole group to see the game.
Argyle have beaten Torquay United in a development game for the second time this season thanks to a goal from Andres Gurrieri. Sheridan fielded a mainly professional side with two youth team players (Aaron Bentley and Mason Hughes) starting for Argyle. Both sides had their chances but the match finished 1-0. Argyle: Cole, Bentley, Wotton, Branston(Purrington), Hughes, Blizzard(Asumadu-Sayki), Bencherif, Gurrieri(Hall), Blackman, Harvey, Vassell(Wheatley). Unused sub: Hannah.
John Sheridan has meanwhile confirmed that midfielder Dominic Blizzard will soon be ready to compete for a first team slot again. 28 year old Blizzard has had a frustrating start to his Argyle career after being ruled out for two months by a virus. He was however on the bench for the game at Lincoln and Sheridan has hinted that he will soon be back in the fold. Sheridan: "I don't think he's far off from forcing himself in the side. He's getting better and better. I brought him in to play, and push people in midfield, and try to fight for a place. But if someone gets an illness there isn't really a lot I can do about it. He didn't miss a day of pre-season and then he gets this virus, which sets him back. He's just coming back now. He's getting stronger and doing everything that everyone else is doing."
Argyle's FA Cup first-round replay against Lincoln City will take place on Wednesday 20th November. Tickets are now on sale for the game, which follows Saturday's 0-0 draw between the two sides at Sincil Bank. Prices are £15 for adults, £10 for over 65s and students, and £5 for under 18s. Pay-on-the-gate will also be available. Ticket prices will not increase on the day of the game. The winners of the match will host Welling United in the second round.
Toppie Obadeyi believes his loan to Argyle will be a win-win move. The 24-year-old attacker made his Pilgrims’ debut as a second-half substitute in the goal-less FA Cup first-round draw at Lincoln, less than 48 hours after joining from League 2 rivals Bury. The former Bolton trainee showed some nice touches as he helped orchestrate a strong Argyle finish to the match, going close on a couple of occasions with long-range shots. “As soon as I came on, I tried to influence the game in a positive way,” he said. “Lincoln came out for the second half and did push us but, towards the end of the game, we had enough chances to maybe nick the game.” Toppie has played for Argyle manager John Sheridan before, at Chesterfield, where Pilgrim Neal Trotman was a team-mate, and he had little hesitation in answering John’s call again. “I know the manager,” said Toppie. “I know the way he likes to play; I know how he likes to work. I thought ‘Why not?’ Get some games and get my career back on track; get some goals, get some wins. I know the team’s doing well at the moment, so, hopefully, I can add to that, give a little bit of a positive push to team.I’m a player who likes to get at the back four, to get up the pitch as much as I can, and try to get some goals at the same time.” Toppie has also spent time on loan at Swindon, Shrewsbury and Rochdale, so he is not unfamiliar with the experience of walking into an unfamiliar environment and trying to quickly slot in. He said: “As the days go, you start to get used to everybody; you start to know everyone’s game and they know my game. It’s happened to me before – new team, new faces – but I’m used to it now. As training goes on, they see my game and I see how everyone else plays and, hopefully, a lot of positives come out of it.” Toppie spent last season playing in Portugal’s Primeira Liga for Rio Ave but believes his future is back on this side of the Channel. He said: “It was a good experience for me, playing in the top league against the big boys: Benfica, Porto, Lisbon. It was difficult at first, but I settled quite quickly. I had a chance to stay out there, but I wanted to come back. I wasn’t really playing as much as I would have liked towards the end of the season and I felt like I wanted to come home and kick-start my career in England. This is a massive, massive time for me – I know that. I need to start playing again, and take it one step at a time to get back where I need to be. Hopefully, this can be a stepping-stone for me and hopefully I can help the club at the same time.”
A home game with Welling United will be the reward if Argyle can win their FA Cup replay with Lincoln City. After a 0-0 draw at the first attempt, Argyle will play The Imps again at Home Park on Tuesday, November 19 for the right to play in the second round of the competition. Whichever side is successful will line up against Welling on the weekend of December 7 & 8.
As Argyle’s most famous ever FA Cup run began with a 0-0 away draw, the Green Army can perhaps take heart from their goal-less first-round encounter in this year’s competition at Lincoln City. The two sides replay at Home Park the week after next following the Sincil Bank stalemate, in which the Pilgrims kept a clean-sheet for the fourth successive match. It took the time since Argyle have conceded a goal past six and a half hours, but, unlike their two previous games, were unable to find a crucial winning goal. “It wasn’t for the lack of trying,” said John Sheridan. “We’re creating chances and that’s all we can do – if you keep creating, hopefully the goals will come. We looked solid again. It’s always hard when you come away from home, and a clean sheet is a good habit. We had good possession of the ball, especially in the second half, and, if we’d used it a lot better we could possibly have got one or two goals. We created good opportunities; I should think we had probably ten shots. Our ’keeper’s made a good save, but other than that, I thought we were comfortable in the game. I keep going on about retaining the ball and I think we do give the ball away cheaply at times, but you could see we can pass [the ball] around, especially in the second-half. In the first half, we didn’t really get going. I had a little go at the players at half-time and, after that, we were in the game a lot more. We had good opportunities in and around the Lincoln box, but possibly didn’t pick the right pass.”
John Sheridan has challenged new signing Tope Obadeyi to show the football world what he is capable of during his loan spell at Home Park. Tope has joined Argyle on loan from Bury until the new year and made his debut as a second-half substitute in the 0-0 FA Cup first-round tie at Lincoln. Prior to signing for Bury in the summer, he had played in the top flight for Portugal’s Rio Ave after three seasons at Premier League Bolton Wanderers, during which time he was borrowed by John at the Argyle manager’s previous club. “I’ve had him at Chesterfield and he’s played against me at other clubs, so I know what he can give you,” said John, after the game. “He’s direct and got good feet. He’s got a lot of ability. He’s a good player and he’ll fit in. He looked sharp and bright. He’s very quick and will give us that threat in behind. He did well. He only met up with us last night, so, full credit to him, he got us going a little bit. It’s up to Toppie now. I don’t think his career has taken off as it should have, with the ability he’s got, so I’ve told him he’s coming here to get first-team football and let people sit up and take notice of him.”
Argyle will play Lincoln in a replay at Home Park on Tuesday, November 19 after their first round tie at Sincil Bank on Saturday ended in a goal-less draw. It was an even contest with both sides having spells of pressure but unable to convert any of the chances they created. Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson, Berry, Young, Boco (Obadeyi), Hourihane, Reckord, Reid, Alessandra. Substitutes (not used): Blizzard, Wotton, Harvey, Bencherif, McCormick, Gurrieri.
Manager John Sheridan announced at least once change to his line-up ahead of tomorrow's game at Lincoln City in the FA Cup 1st Round, as Jake Cole will play in goal instead of Luke McCormick. Sheridan said: “Luke's not playing on Saturday, I am going to give Jake a game. It’s a game where I can throw him in. I’ve got total trust in him. He’s training really hard and it’s an opportunity to give him a game. There are no worries whatsoever. Luke has been really good; really positive; part of the good, strong back line; and has been playing really well. No matter what the situation, Luke will be back in for the league programme. They are two very good ’keepers and Luke is probably playing well because Jake is behind him. If there are any mistakes, I’ve got a very good back-up ’keeper to take his place.”
It has been announced that the Argyle Youth team, if they successfully overcome the winners of Tuesday’s Colchester United v AFC Wimbledon tie will play away at Aston Villa in the FA Youth Cup 3rd Round.
Argyle have signed the Bury and formerly Bolton forward Tope Obadeyi on a loan deal until January. Obadeyi is 24 year old and had also played under John Sheridan at two clubs previously- Chesterfield and Oldham. Obadeyi is one of two signings that Sheridan hopes to wrap up before Saturday's FA Cup trip to Lincoln after having said in today's media conference that he is looking for 'a winger and a striker'. Sheridan had this to say on the club's latest acquisition: “I am very pleased to get him. He wants to come and I know that, if he performs as I know he can, he will be a very exciting player. He can play left-wing, right-wing and up front; he’s very quick and direct; and he will give us something we are missing at this moment in time. He’s probably the quickest player I’ve seen. He’s a good age. He played in the Portuguese Premier League last year. On the glimpses of what he has shown me he can do, if he gets the consistency, I believe he’ll be a very exciting player for us. He knows me and hopefully he’ll come in and try to prove a point and I can get the best out of him. He was very highly-rated and probably his career has not gone the way he wants it to, so it’s totally down to Tope and he’s really up for it, really keen. He has not been playing at Bury but I know what he can do – he’s been in and around Shrewsbury, in a higher division, and obviously with me at Chesterfield. One or two people might question him and not know too much about him but, once the fans see him, I think the fans will be well pleased he’s playing for us.”
The former Argyle Under-16 player Sam Gallagher made his first team debut for Southampton last night in their Carling Cup match against Sunderland. Gallagher who had offers from Argyle and two other Premier League clubs left Home Park to go to Southampton in April 2012 and was joined on the bench by another former Pilgrim- defender Jack Stephens who did not make it off the bench.
Argyle have announced the details for the annual Christmas Carol Concert that will be taking place at Home Park during next month's festive season. The Concert will take place at 7pm on Tuesday December 17th at Home Park and will feature the Montpellier Primary School Choir as well as several of the Argyle team who will be reading, singing and taking part in the festivites.
In the FA Youth Cup 1st Round Argyle's youngsters beat Bristol City 4-1 at Home Park with goals from skipper Ben Purrington (31) and a hat-trick from Soloman Wheatley (33, 57, 70) in front of a crowd of 316. City's goal game care of a 90th minute consolation.
The Argyle Youth team line-up was (4-4-2): 1 Andrew Hannah; 2 Mason Hughes, 5 Nathan Summers, 6 Aaron Bentley, 3 Ben Purrington (capt); 7 Solomon Wheatley (16 Josh Hutchinson 78), 4 River Allen (12 Will Sargent 52), 8 Kieran Asumadu-Sakyi, 11 Callum Hall; 10 Jake Miller, 9 Louis Rooney (15 Ethan Stark 65). Subs not used: 13 Cory Harvey (gk), 16 Tom Moxham.
The Pilgrims will play away in the 2nd round against the winners of next Tuesday’s Colchester United vs. AFC Wimbledon tie. The round is scheduled to be concluded by Saturday, November 23.
Guy Branston will be suspended for the trip to Lincoln City in the FA Cup on Saturday. The defender was cautioned in Argyle's 1-0 win over Northampton this weekend. The yellow card was Guy's fifth of the season, so he must serve a one-match ban with immediate effect.
Following the conclusion of his loan spell, Paul Hayes has returned to Brentford. The 30-year-old joined Argyle just in time for the away clash with Exeter, and would go on to play seven games for The Pilgrims, including two from the bench. In his time at Home Park, Argyle took eight points from the six league games Paul participated in. After this Saturday's win over Northampton, manager John Sheridan said: "I think Paul - even though he hasn't started the last two games - has got better here as the weeks have gone by." Paul has expressed his thanks to all in and around the club for his time in Devon, stating on Twitter: "Wanna wish @Only1Argyle/players/fans and everyone else with the club all the best. Really enjoyed myself for the month. Good win to finish on."
John Sheridan has praised Luke Young, after his substitute appearance pushed the Pilgrims towards a vital 1-0 win this weekend. Once the 20-year-old came on in the 76th minute, the tempo of Argyle's play visibly quickened, and a slick passing move started by Young allowed Lewis Alessandra to tuck home the only goal of the game in the final minute of normal time. After Luke's effective cameo appearance, Shez had some high praise for Young. "I don't think that in the league there's probably a better passer than him." said John. "I know what he's got, and he can really get us going in a game. I think Youngy's come on and done well for us a few times now this season when he's come off the bench." Young's contribution came after a dogged display from Argyle, which despite large amounts of possession and attacking intent, failed to carve open the Northampton Town defence through the middle of the park. Once Young came on, that all changed. "You bring subs on sometimes to change the game, and Youngy got us passing the ball a little more," Sheridan said, "I thought the players throughout gave us 100 per cent and that's all you can ask for, but the pleasing thing is we created a lot more chances at home. I think Youngy's just played four or five passes when he came on which no-one really did in the whole game. He played an early ball in to the striker which Reuben likes, then Reuben's first touch, then Lewis - back of the net. Four touches, from three players, between them, and it's in the back of the net.” It’s worth remembering that, in his playing days, John Sheridan was a high quality international midfield player. If anyone knows about how to encourage and cultivate a player like Luke Young, it’s the gaffer. And Youngy is clearly a project that John is eager to develop. He said: “Youngy's still a young player, he's played a lot of games for his age, but in previous years he's been playing in a struggling team. Youngy's not someone who should be going round and getting in a battle, trying to win headers. I know what his strength is, he should know what his strength is, he's a two-touch, three-touch player who can make us play on his day. I was going to play him today because we're at home, because he's a player we need at home when he's on his game, and I think the system suits him, the (midfield) three gives him that bit of freedom. But he needs to be playing at a tempo. He should never be running with the ball - I keep telling him if he keeps passing it and controlling it, no-one will get near him, so he won't make many mistakes. He likes to play forward, the first option on his mind is 'Can I play it forward?' and that's what I like about him, and he did that when he came on.”
Speaking after the 1-0 victory at home to Northampton Town, Sheridan spoke about the 3-5-2 system employed by Argyle recently, and what he believes it allows his Argyle side to do. “I picked it against Portsmouth,” he said, “and I think it enables us to get a few bodies forward more than anything. I think the lads are working very hard on the system, how we're going to play. I think Jamie is a bit raw with it, but he's getting more used to it now. I've played Branston and Nelson on that side, but Blanchard and Trotman have settled in well. I think the back 5 - or back 6 if you include McCormick in that - have looked quite solid. Clean sheets is a good habit, but our problem is scoring goals, and the pleasing thing is we could've scored three or four goals today. I think we can still better. I'd like us to be confident; the pitch is a beautiful pitch. I put Nelson in because I've got so many attacking players in the team, with Rommy and Lewis and Reuben, and Conor likes to get forward. I thought in the first half we were in control of the game, but we always seem to find it very hard to put the ball in the back of the net, but there's something about us; if you're scoring goals so late, last week and this week, there's something about us. Full credit to the players, they're the ones on the pitch, and we're all quite chuffed and again, it's a win. We could've had two 0-0 draws but we haven't, let's take it with both hands and carry on.”
Striker Lewi Alessandra's 90th minute goal enabled Argyle to record a second successive 1-0 win and lift the Pilgrims to 17th in League 2 table. “It was class; it was amazing,” said the 24-year-old, who joined the Pilgrims from Morecambe in the summer. “My first goal at Home Park; my first the goal in the league. It helps us to another win. It’s important to keep picking up points and wins in the position we’re in. That’s seven points from nine, now. Hopefully, we can kick on even further." Like his strike partner Reuben Reid, their team mates, and a vociferous Home Park crowd, Lewi had been thwarted all afternoon by some top-quality goalkeeping from Cobblers’ ’keeper Matt Duke. He said: “He was pulling off some good saves and, unfortunately, palming things away from goal so there were never any second chances. I thought: ‘It’s going to be one of those days again’, a frustrating afternoon when we’ve been on top and not scoring when we’re on top, not taking our chances. I had one five or ten minutes previous to the chance where the ball got whizzed across and I didn’t manage to put it. So I was a bit frustrated with myself and, when the other chance came round, I was obviously delighted to see it hit the back of the net. I initially thought the shot might go a bit wide, but I thought ‘I’m shooting all day here’, you know, the unwritten rule for strikers, shoot across goal. I was coming from a deeper position. Reuben got hold of the ball really well. I ran off the back of my lad because I’ve already got the momentum, coming from a deeper position. I’ve got the run on him and he couldn’t catch me and I’ve got a free shot on goal.” Lewi believes that the experience of the previous week, when Argyle had stood up to a physical test at Mansfield before winning 1-0 through Neal Trotman’s injury-time header had given belief to players and the Green Army alike. He said: “The fans were right behind us, to the last minute. We had the chances; we were on top, and we just had that will to win. With winning in the 93rd minute last week, you have that belief: if we score in the last minute, we score in the last minute. We can do it. We know, when we’re doing well, the crowd can be a massive factor and be on our side massively, so we just need to keep plugging away, keep playing well. The big thing for us is just getting goals when we are on top of games.”
Argyle bagged another late winner as they beat Northampton Town 1-0 at Home Park. Argyle created a number of good chances, but it looked to be a frustrating afternoon again, until Lewi Alessandra slotted home the winner on the stroke of full time. Argyle: McCormick, Blanchard, Trotman, Branston (Young), Berry, Hourihane, Nelson, Reckord, Reid (Harvey), Alessandra, Boco (Hayes). Substitutes (not used): Cole, Blackman, Bencherif, Gurrieri
John Sheridan’s search for a striker to bring some firepower to Home Park goes on. A week after being knocked back by one target, the Argyle manager has been pursuing other objectives. “I’m still talking,” he said on Thursday, “I spoke to another club yesterday. Obviously, the striker I was trying to get last week, the club agreed everything but he felt it was a bit too far to come, so I’ve enquired about another striker this week. It’ll be on loan. He’s a good age – 24, 25 – and has got a good goalscoring record. I’ve already spoken to the club and the manager, and I think he’s available. I’ve left it with them to try to sort out whether the player wants to come. If he is interested, we’ll be interested and, hopefully, we can get something sorted out. I’m just waiting for comeback from the club. Hopefully, something possibly might happen before the weekend.” It's not for the first time in Argyle’s history has that phrase 'Too far to come' has dropped from a manager’s lips. “I won’t make it an excuse, but it is difficult,” said John. “Sometimes I understand. If a player’s got a young family or he’s just got married, to be away in such a far place is sometimes difficult. I have just got to accept that. If it backfires on me, I have just got to try to get someone else. I’ve attracted players here already since I’ve been here: if one doesn’t go your way, you have just got to work hard to get someone in. That’s life.” Meanwhile, striker Paul Hayes’ seven-game loan spell from Brentford expires this weekend. “Paul’s obviously involved on Saturday,” said John. “I’ll have a chat with Paul after the game. “He a good lad, he works really hard, and I think he has improved with each game, once he’s got to know the lads.”
Leading up to the home match against Northampton Town tomorrow, John Sheridan will consider carefully the old saw about never changing a winning team. At Mansfield last week, he drafted Curtis Nelson into central midfield alongside Conor Hourihane. It was a move born more of expediency, given the expected intimidatory tactics of the Stags, than anything else. “I don’t think he’s a midfield player but he gives you presence, height and physical attributes,” said John. “I see him n that role more away from home. He’s a totally different player to, say, Luke Young but, when he’s played there, he’s always done alright and we’ve got results. When I won the league at Chesterfield, I played certain players at home and I played certain players away, no matter what the results. I might have to change a winning side sometimes, and it wouldn’t bother me.”
Tickets for Argyle's next Devon Derby clash go on sale on Saturday morning. Argyle travel to Torquay United on Tuesday, November 26 for a 7.45pm kick-off. The Ticket Office will be selling tickets to Members from this Saturday, November 2 (One ticket per member). Tickets will go on general sale on Monday, November 11.
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