Welcome back to An Argyle Journey. It’s been a better than expected start for our Green’s this season, currently sitting 9th after 10 league games.
I decided to check how many goals we have conceded from the six-yard box and it was a whopping 10 out of 15 goals in all competitions.
I went into the way we set up at corners defensively, and told our striker to stand in the 6 yard box. The rest is pretty standard, 2 fullbacks on the posts, our big tall centre-backs marking their aerial threats and everyone else apart from Lameiras back to help out. I like having a player left up for the counter-attack. Makes sense.
I’d made sure to send a scout to watch most of Calum Dyson’s games at Harrogate, and he’s hit the ground running putting in good performances and getting important goals. He’s definitely a player with potential, either for our first team or for us to sell on for profit.
Now for our first game of October. Barnsley away.
No changes. Sarcevic stays in the team after replacing Super Stuart O’Keefe who was suspended last time out. I may have forgotten that he was available for this game and left him out of the squad completely. Manager life is stressful okay.
You may recognise Anthony Forde starting for Barnsley, he was a player I did have a look at taking in on loan in part one. Let’s hope he doesn’t play well.
It was a low-quality affair with Barnsley wondering how they didn’t win with 21 shots to our 8. They had to play the last 12 minutes with 10 men, but we couldn’t make the extra man count and went home with a point.
AFC Wimbledon at home and this time I had remembered to bring back Stuart O’Keefe in a game that was highly winnable.
We didn’t start great and conceded after 24 minutes thanks to our old friend ‘Volley-in-the-six-yard-box’. The corner came in, cleared but came back in again and caught us out of position. I thought I had fixed this issue, but we’ll see if it continues to happen.
We came out the better team and showed our quality in the second half with Kaylen Hinds getting his 2nd brace in 3 games to get us the win.
19 shots and 65% of possession. It’s no fluke, we are playing good football.
Up next, a week playing Oxford away. Once on Tuesday in the Checkatrade Trophy, and again on Saturday in the league.
I haven’t been mentioning our Checkatrade games on these updates so far, mainly as my own small act of protest and the fact the games are just annoying. I don’t care, I just want to play for 3 points in the league. I sent up an entirely new eleven to play the game, and we lost 1-0. Oxford didn’t rest as many players and so hopefully we should be fresher than them for the league game.
Joel Grant’s trips to Jamaica aren’t helping with our team selection, so I go with a different shape. Carey shifted out wide and Sarcevic playing as the most advanced midfielder of a 3.
It was another tough game, but our defence was solid, with Ryan Edwards picking up Man of The Match. The goal came from a Graham Carey free-kick out wide, David Fox the unlikely winner of the header that won us the game.
5 games unbeaten.
Alex Fletcher needs games, and Barnet came in with an offer to take him on loan. With Ryan Taylor the only fit striker behind Kaylen Hinds, it was a risk, but Freddie is making progress on his return from injury.
We can recall Alex in January if we need him, but at this stage I just want him playing regular games at such an important age for his development.
Lilian Nalis is already starting to say good things about me. Don’t worry Lilian, you don’t have to butter me up I’ll bring you back to Argyle as my assistant as soon as I can afford it.
Now back to our biggest game of the month, high flying top of the league Burton Albion. The pick of the games this weekend.
Joel Grant doesn’t get to walk back into the team from his return from Jamaica and I go with the same team who got the win last time out, just a little bit more defensive.
That’s because recently relegated Burton have 5 players worth more than £1 million and another 5 worth over £500k. On paper, we should lose.
Graham Carey had picked up an assist against Oxford and perhaps this was the beginning for an upturn in form. He loves the big games and when stood over a free-kick on the edge of the box on 44 minutes, I had every faith.
What a free-kick, just what we needed.
We go into half-time, not losing but actually winning against the current best team in the league.
Can we hold onto our lead and get a massive win?
Six-yard bloody box.
They had more chances than us, they just kept pushing and pushing, crosses flying into the box at every opportunity.
When it got to 85 minutes, I thought it was just going to be our day, but the cross came in and 5″10 Tafari Moore could not win the header.
But still, 6 games unbeaten.
We get Accrington in the FA Cup 1st Round, I’d have preferred a lower league team, but we’ll take it.
Some recognition for Carey.
Gillingham at home, same team. We keep going, see what we can do.
Stuart O’Keefe with another edge of the box banger to put us 1-0 up.
An own goal confirms the win. A straightforward win to make it 7 matches unbeaten.
Our pass completion ratio and average possession is the best in the league. It’s what I wanted to do, play nice free-flowing passing football. We have the players to do it and It’s working really well. A couple more upgrades in January and who knows we could do this season.
Defensively we are up there too. Just as we know, conceding too many goals from pieces.
Final game of October and it’s Scunthorpe away. Same team. I need to get Callum Gribbin back involved following his injury at the start of the season. ( Mourinho called me up saying I wasn’t playing him enough. He’s just come back from a bad injury… ) So Gribbin makes the bench for the first time.
Scunthope take the lead before half time.
You guessed it, set piece, six-yard box. But it was unfortunate.
We don’t clear the initial corner well enough, it falls to a Scunny player who smashes it towards goal. It’s heading well wide before hitting Gary Sawyer and bouncing into the net.
45 minutes to save our unbeaten run. Lamieras and Carey aren’t playing well. And on 57 minutes I throw on Callum Gribbin and Joel Grant to try and change the game.
And it’s Callum Gribbin who pops up back post unmarked to volley home a Stuart O’Keefe free kick.
1-1 it finishes.
Despite his own goal, Sawyer won the man of the match award. We end October unbeaten.
5th in the league after 16.
Next up, November and our toughest test yet. The pre-season favourites Sunderland.
See you then.
An Argyle Journey is published every Wednesday & Sunday. Get involved in the discussion on PASOTI, and by using the hashtag #ArgyleLifeFM19.