Plymouth Argyle succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to league leaders Hull City this afternoon, despite a spirited performance. Argyle grew into the game as it began to draw to the close, but a Hakkeb Adelekun goal was enough to see the hosts home for a 4th win from 4 games, continuing their perfect start to the season. For Argyle, a first league defeat this term but many positives nonetheless.
Michael Cooper, GK – 7
An assured performance from the youngster, who looks to be continuing to grow into the physical nature of league football.
After a early spill from a shot from range which was regathered quickly, Cooper went on to have a game which produced very few mistakes, as he was behind what he had to face, and came for crosses well when tested in the air and could do very little about the Adelekun goal which won the game as it was fired into the opposite corner from close range.
He did have a shaky moment late on which nearly resulted in a mix up in defence as Argyle were chasing the game, when coming out to head the ball, but that can be excused when you consider how stretched the game was at that point as Argyle were chasing the game.
Scott Wootton, CB – 6
Not many complaints for Wootton this afternoon and he was part of a defensive unit that did well to limit one of the league’s best sides to very few clear cut opportunities. Despite a couple of wayward clearances Wootton performed well at one of his main strengths – intercepting balls from crosses into the box. This was particularly important against a Hull side which liked to utilise the space created by Argyle’s three at the back system in wide areas.
Niall Canavan, CB – 7
One of the contenders for man of the match for me. Since coming into the side in the second half of the 4-4 draw with AFC Wimbledon two weeks ago in attempt to sure up the defence, Canavan has been a commanding presence in the air, greatly improving Argyle’s prospects in that area defensively. Today was no different as the Irishman seemed to connect with much of what Hull had to offer in wide areas.
Canavan also seemed to be the centre back most eager to try and switch the play, and although those didn’t come off as much as he would’ve liked the willingness to try and spread a resolute Hull defence out is pleasing.
Kelland Watts, CB – 7
Another contender for man of the match, this was one of the better performances from Watts in an Argyle shirt so far, he was very good positionally, particularly to cut out balls in the channels and he performed strongly against one of the league’s better wide men in the aforementioned goalscorer Hakeeb Adelekun.
There were a couple of occasions where Watts showed his experience of playing further up the field too, stepping out into midfield particularly later in the game when Argyle were chasing the equaliser and producing a good save from Tigers goalkeeper Matt Ingram.
Conor Grant, DM – 6
Grant started in the role he fulfilled well for much of the game last week after an injury to Lewis Macleod, and he kept his place in the deepest role this afternoon despite the signing of young defensive midfielder Tyrese Fornah on a season long loan from Nottingham Forest, last night. In truth, I can’t remember many contributions of note from Grant but he typically kept possession well, sometimes offering himself as an overlap to Byron Moore on the right side without receiving the ball. Grant did also unleash a good shot after a rare period of pressure from Argyle in the first half, but failed to make it 3 goals in as many weeks as it whistled over the bar.
Byron Moore, RWB – 6
Much like his partner on the right side of defence Scott Wootton, no complaints for the performance of Moore this afternoon, as he started his second game in a row ahead of Joe Edwards. Moore got forward well and although the quality of the cross was sometimes lacking, he continued to try and get forward right into the dying embers of the game, showing his immense stamina as many others on the pitch started to tire.
Panutche Camara, CM – 7
An overall good performance from the Bissau-Ginuean, who was actually making his first league start for Argyle this afternoon, after coming off the bench in the first 4 league games of the season. Camara provided his usual relentless pressing and also was very useful in helping Argyle relive some pressure, often snapping in to win the ball for Argyle particularly in the first half when Hull had the majority of the possession.
Going forward, Camara was not as good particularly when crossing or shooting, but he did his primary job well and there is no reason why he can’t find himself in the starting XI next week too.
Danny Mayor, CM – 7, player of the match
Mayor get my vote for man of the match this afternoon, as he looked the one most likely to create an opening for Argyle in the first half when they did have the ball in the absence of George Cooper from the starting XI.
He looked to conjure up opportunities, with his trademark weaving runs and was one the one player in a white shirt that had the Hull defence backtracking for the whole of the game.
He was also influential alongside George Cooper, in the visitor’s attacking onslaught in the final 20 minutes and had the game lasted five minutes more, you may have seen Mayor force an equaliser.
The only thing that stops the Leyland native from gaining another mark, is his looseness in midfield when trying to pass or run with the ball. However, this was likely because a lack of creative support in the first hour of the match.
Jerome Opoku, LWB – 6
Perhaps a surprise inclusion on the team sheet this afternoon for some after sitting out completely last time around, Opoku made his first appearance since joining on loan from Fulham until January last week. Opoku’s start in place of George Cooper was understandable when you consider the attacking prowess that Hull possess, and a good example of Ryan Lowe using the strong squad at his disposal, to cater to the opposition that his team face.
The former Accrington Stanley man was fine defensively and put some good crosses in going forward however, he was unable to provide the same attacking threat as Cooper and subsequently, Argyle were unable to stretch the opposition as much as they would have liked when he was on the pitch.
This is no fault of Opoku’s though as he is not in the squad as a left sided creative but rather a defender, it is just just an observation around the absence of Cooper rather than the debutant himself.
A good start for the young prospect in a green shirt, and I look forward to seeing more of what he has to offer in weeks to come.
Ryan Hardie, ST – 6
Hardie replaced Dom Telford, who started ahead of him for the game against Shrewsbury last week and produced a performance that is perhaps indicative to the start of the season for the Scotsman,
Hardie worked hard, chased well and used his pace to try and get in behind, but the ball just wouldn’t quite fall for him in the area. Whether it’s a lack of confidence or even the absence of strike partner Luke Jephcott, Hardie hasn’t quite been able to hit the heights of last season as of yet, which saw him score 7 goals in 13 appearances. Hardie needs a goal to get off the mark, but i’m sure a man of his quality won’t go much longer without one.
Frank Nouble, ST – 6
Nouble once again demonstrated his ability as a target man, and a good release point of pressure for the Greens this afternoon, and was able to be an outlet when Argyle couldn’t beat the press by passing through the thirds. He brought others into play well and occupied Hull Centre Back Reece Burke, and probably opposition man of the match Reece Burke all afternoon.
However, I would like to see Nouble try and get in behind more as he has the physical attributes to do so, and I think that might help free up the likes of Hardie up more, as they will be able to directly link up as a front two.
George Cooper, LWB – 7
As previously mentioned, Cooper was replaced by Jerome Opoku on the teamsheet in an attempt for a more defensive approach by Ryan Lowe and, Argyle subsequently lost his creative spark which is so important for for the sides attacking prospects. He came for the final half an hour of the game and completely changed the flow of the tie as, Argyle started to dominate territory and got into more advanced positions. The link up with Danny Mayor on the left side meant the league’s table toppers were genuinely clinging onto the three points towards the end. A higher mark for Cooper is only stopped because of the amount of time he spent on the pitch.
Dom Telford, ST – 5
Might be a bit harsh, but he came on for Ryan Hardie with just under 15 minutes and failed to make much of an impact. Telford did very nearly get on the end of a Byron Moore cross late on, but it was cut out excellently at the front post by Reece Burke.
Ben Reeves, DM – 7
The reason why Telford gets a 5 is Ben Reeves. the debutant came on at the same time as Telford – 76th minute to be exact, and made a great impact, ensuring that Argyle continued to move the ball forward late on in the game and was overall very neat.
Capable of playing further forward, if Reeves can stay fit he may just yet play a pivotal role in the Argyle side this season.