After the F.A cup misery against Oxford, Plymouth Argyle returned to Sky Bet League One action this afternoon against bottom side Bradford City. What some may describe as a six-pointer resulted in a dismal defensive display by the Pilgrims in front of 9,000 at Home Park. Two goals from forward Freddie Ladapo helped the struggling Greens to earn a vital point during a difficult afternoon.

Starting XI

Matt Macey – 3

A very concerning afternoon from the Arsenal loanee with some frequent moments leaving the Green Army perplexed as he failed to complete basic tasks between the sticks. Macey had a large part to play during the opening two goals conceded this afternoon. The first and second goals by the Bantams were caused in-part to Macey parrying the ball back into the danger areas which left the Yorkshire side with easy opportunities upon which they capitalised from.

Joe Riley – 6

The former Shrewsbury man found himself subject to a second start in two weeks due to the disappointing performances of another former Gunner, Tafari Moore. Riley has proved himself to be an adequate replacement within recent weeks providing Argyle boss Derek Adams with a sturdy option to be deployed at the weakened right back area. Riley performed multiple successful challenges throughout the 90 minutes.

Ryan Edwards – 3

Liverpudlian centre half Ryan Edwards found himself back in the Pilgrims starting XI this Saturday after recovering from medical issues late on in November. The opening 5 minutes was not one to remember for the former Morecambe man as he was at fault for a catalogue of errors. Edwards received the ball on the edge of his own area and failed to get the ball out of his feet before being intercepted and Bradford capitalised. The defender was replaced in the 66th minute by Ryan Taylor in order to create an attacking resurgence as well as to allow a familiar face in Yann Songo’o to return to the back four.

Niall Canavan – 5

A unusually weak performance from the former Scunthorpe man this afternoon as he failed to deal with the direct form of football that David Hopkin’s men deployed. A nervy performance from his centre back partner (Edwards) caused uncertainty at the back which resulted in the decline of Canavan’s own performance. Canavan also presented a lacklustre performance at the opposite end when it came to attacking set-pieces and has been a topic which has been brought up multiple times within recent weeks. The 6’4 defender should be doing more from set-piece situations for his size.

Ashley Smith-Brown – 6

An adequate job was completed by the young Mancunian right back this Saturday with nothing too flashy but nothing too wrong. The first-half consisted of some exciting attacking runs from the former Man City player however as the game progressed we saw see less and less of these overlapping runs. The summer recruit has slowly started to show why he was recruited with glimpses of quality which must echo why he was in quite such an impressive academy system.

Yann Songo’o – 4

A very shaky performance from the Cameroonian defender as he lost possession of the ball on numerous occasions which allowed the Bantams an easy way towards Argyle’s goal. The only reason why Yann has accumulated a rating of a 4 and not a 3 is due to his heroics in the last 5 minutes where he put his body on the line and prevented them from which capitalising on what looked like a certain goal.

David Fox – 5

Argyle’s captain was not at his best this afternoon with a relatively quiet performance in midfield. Fox was not his normal self with touches limited and not having the many opportunities to carve the opposition open throughout the 90 minutes. Fox also failed to have much of an impact within the defensive third, although this is mostly due to the fact he was playing further up the pitch than best suits him, and does not provide him with protection from other central midfielders.

Antoni Sarcevic – 6

The former Shrewsbury man has been praised of recent weeks with his stellar performances in the centre of the park. Sarcevic was nowhere near shy from his personal best but he wasn’t quite as good as we know he can be. Similarly to Fox, Sarcevic did not put in quite as much as a defensive shift this afternoon which is reflected in the scoreline and was again perhaps not utilised in his best role. Not an awful performance from the Mancunian but not near enough to his top level.

Graham Carey – 7

We are beginning to see glimpses of the old Carey we all know and love within recent weeks. He was responsible for the fantastic cross which led to Argyle’s first goal of the afternoon. There is no questioning the Irishman’s work rate as he continues to provide assistance in the defensive third for the Greens. He also came close to giving Argyle another goal with an almost inch perfect free quick which clattered against the post and if it didn’t brush the wall on the way through it probably would have nestled in the top left-hand corner. The pivotal figure who is an ever present for the Pilgrims is really starting to find his feet again with his mazy runs and lethal set-piece precision.

Joel Grant – 7

The Jamaican international has been putting in some dazzling performances in recent weeks. Grant acquired himself a second-half goal by latching onto a through ball from Argyle striker Freddie Ladapo. A little luck was involved but eventually the ball was bundled into the back of the net. The former Exeter City man rarely looses the ball while running with it and intelligently uses his body to do so. Grant has been playing well lately and also does his bit in the defensive third as is so crucial for a Derek Adams side.

Freddie Ladapo – 8 – Man of the Match

A man of the match performance from the striker this afternoon as he once again found himself with a brace on the pitch. The former Palace man was not heavily involved throughout the 90 although he made it count when the opportunities were presented to him with some good finishing from close rage. His movement must be amongst the very best players in the league, perhaps even clever enough to help him score goals at an even higher level than League 1.

SUBSTITUES

Ryan Taylor – 7

The Rotherham born centre forward was introduced as a second-half substitute for Ryan Edwards. The tall target man allowed Argyle a building block for a number of attacks and was able latch onto a large number of aerial balls. Many members of the Green Army believe Taylor should be included in the starting line-up, in-part due to the fact that he boasts a 70% aerial challenge success rate compared to Ladapo’s 30%. Adams has been left with a real conundrum. Drop the goal scorer? Or start the proven target man? Or maybe both?

Ruben Lamerias – 5

Once again the introduction of the Portuguese playmaker was too late in the game as he was left with next to no time to be able to provide a real impact for the Pilgrims. Not an awful lot to shout about with the his performance this afternoon as he was quite frankly left with very little time to get into the game.

Author: Luke Folland