A fantastic finish by Ruben Lameiras handed Plymouth Argyle a late win against ten-men Peterborough. The game swung on a red card in the final seconds of the first half and a moment of inspiration late on.
Kyle Letheren – 6
Letheren made a good save from a free-kick in the first-half but otherwise wasn’t stretched too much. Siriki Dembele was able to round him but hit the side netting in his only other major test. However, his kicking was once again poor – within six minutes he had already sent one out for a throw-in – and he showed a limited command of his area. He did well to punch away one dangerous cross, but he should have attempted to catch it. Otherwise, he remained timidly on his line, which could have cost the team when he chose to not come out and claim a cross across his six-yard box late on, only for Ryan Edwards to perform an excellent clearance under his own crossbar and prevent Ivan Toney a tap-in. This area of his game needs to improve drastically.
Ashley Smith-Brown – 6
Smith-Brown was fine throughout the game. He wasn’t tested much by Peterborough’s centrally focused diamond formation in the first-half and had little if anything to deal with defensively in the second. In the first 45 he, like the rest of the team, had few options in possession and gave the ball away too frequently. In the second, he saw more of the ball but was too hesitant to take the game to the opposition and wasted a few opportunities to deliver dangerous crosses.
Ryan Edwards – 7
Edwards and Canavan continue to enjoy a strong partnership in defence, though this was aided substantially in the second-half by Argyle’s man-advantage as the duo dealt with long-balls to Toney and helped Fox take control of possession. Had little to deal with as the diamond midfield afforded protection to the defence. Used some dirty tactics to get under Toney’s skin and eventually prompted the event that led to Tomlin’s sending-off. Restricted their leading striker to only one clear sight of goal all afternoon.
Niall Canavan – 7
Like Edwards, was involved in a running battle with the powerful Toney all afternoon, which he mostly had the better of. Made a smart intervention in a tough situation late in the first-half to kill the threat of a dangerous counter-attack and was – as ever – composed in possession. Did a decent job handling the quick and nimble Dembele while he was on the pitch, though he couldn’t prevent Tomlin from sending him clean-through.
Gary Sawyer – 6
Like Smith-Brown, he didn’t have much defending to do throughout the match. Pushed forward in the second-half and linked up well with Lameiras as Argyle went on the front-foot. Over-committed against Ward on his flank and allowed him the space to accelerate past him and get a cross in on more than one occasion.
David Fox – 7
Was integral to Argyle’s control in the second-half, but that followed a quite first in which he was unable to influence play and was outwitted a few times by the creative Tomlin in the build up to Peterborough’s best attacking movements. With the space he was afforded, he should have been more assertive in possession by driving forward to create space rather than merely switching the play. Ultimately, his success in this game was based off Tomlin’s red card.
Antoni Sarcevic – 8
Argyle’s best player until Lameiras slammed home the winner. A game perfectly suited for him: his position as a right-sided central midfielder (his best position) afforded him the opportunity to get up-close and personal with the opposition and he did it to great effect, winning the ball back regularly. He also drove forward from midfield better than Carey, breaching the back-line a couple of times without being able to create a chance or finish one off.
Graham Carey – 6
Carey’s possession play was vital to Argyle’s control of possession in the second-half, however he was far too timid and his hesitance to push forward meant the team struggled to create viable openings. This was much to the visible frustration of Adams and Wotton on the sideline, who were constantly urging him to push forward. His one moment of attacking quality was to deliver a stunning delivery to the far-post that just evaded the goal and the head of Edwards alike.
Ruben Lameiras – 8 Man of the Match
Delivered the champagne moment once more. As against Wycombe and Walsall, he wasn’t involved much in the first-half, but the numerical advantage and Argyle’s control of possession finally allowed him to get in dangerous positions. This did not lead to direct chances, but it did not matter as he eventually curved home a perfect finish to take three vital points back to Plymouth.
Ryan Taylor – 7
Taylor delivered a display that reminded everyone why he was so important to Argyle’s turnaround last season. Strong in the air, composed in possession, picked up good positions to help Argyle go forward, especially in the second-half. Was also the player to get himself in the best shooting positions but failed to put away a series of half-chances. The main question must be why Adams chose to remove him for Jephcott, Peterborough were beginning to get back in the game and this only helped them achieve that as Ladapo struggled again as a lone-striker. Given that, Adams was a bit lucky that Lameiras popped up with an excellent finish when he did, since Argyle’s threat had long since subsided by that point.
Freddie Ladapo – 6
Another quiet game for Ladapo. Once again, he and Taylor were not an effective strike partnership, but he did further hint at his improved timing when competing for headers. Decent performance by Ladapo but he wasn’t as involved as Taylor and I find it bemusing that his strike-partner hasn’t been afforded a single league start as a lone striker since August. His best chance came from a set-piece and he isn’t likely to hit another run of form until the midfield returns to the same Fox-Sarcevic-Ness set-up that sparked it initially.
Joe Riley – 6
Came on for Smith-Brown midway through the first half but wasn’t particularly involved. Most notable moments came when releasing Sarcevic to a position where he could have created a chance for Lameiras and delivering the cross that eventually fell to Lameiras.