After last-weeks stalemate versus west country outfit Swindon Town, Plymouth Argyle looked to continue their unbeaten run with a win over struggling cumbrians, Carlisle United. With the absence of key players Jose Baxter and Danny Mayor through injury and suspension respectively, Pilgrims manager Ryan Lowe turned to Peterborough loanee George Cooper in order to fill the creative void left by their exclusion.
Alex Palmer, GK – 7
Although relatively untested, young stopper Alex Palmer displayed a calming presence in the area as he bailed out his team-mates. Numerous precarious back passes saw him having to quickly and effectively distribute the ball back to safety. Despite the leaky form of the Pilgrims defence Palmer saw little to no challenging shots fired at him and spent the afternoon undisturbed. A late strike from the left-hand side of the box which he smartly stopped low to his right was about all that had the potential to trouble the stopper.
Joe Riley, RWB – 6
A mix bag of a performance from the former Shrewsbury man who struggled to find a steady rhythm throughout the game. Some lapses of concentration created moments of madness for the Pilgrims and on another day, against more clinical opposition, they could have resulted in a goal. One distinct moment where a lack of concentration and communication saw a Carlisle forward burst into the area after the mix-up with Scott Wootton is of particular concern. It was only the previously mentioned Palmer’s smart stop which kept the scores from being levelled. The wing-back also offered little going forward as his crosses failed to trouble the Cumbrian backline on more than one occasion.
Scott Wootton, RCB – 5
Another nervy performance from the Argyle number 5 saw more aimless passes and lapses of concentration with little to no improvement on last-weeks performance. These concerns are alarming as they are recurring mistakes which are yet to be eradicated from his game. Surely, it is only a matter of time before oppositions highlight the former United man as a weakness.
A distinct moment in the second half in which saw Wootton boot the ball out of play despite it already heading to safety is a particular moment which should be focused on. This was a mistake you’d expect from a young unexperienced player not someone who has graced the Champions League and it perfectly demonstrates the lack of concentration and awareness the number 5 possesses.
Niall Canavan, CB – 8, Player of the Match
The aerial presence of Niall Canavan was much needed asset for Ryan Lowe’s team and the former Scunthorpe man used his tall frame superbly in order to deny any aerial threats entering his vicinity. The Irishman also displayed a calm head as he was the instigator in a large proportion of passing around the back. He also made himself an ever-present option for the midfield to pass to, often bailing them out from sticky situations.
Gary Sawyer, LCB – 7
Although Gary Sawyer entered the season with many fans questioning his involvement, the Argyle skipper has come through and shown himself to be the most capable of the Pilgrims’ squad to play the left sided centre-half role. He has shown that he is more than capable of driving the ball forward whilst also demonstrating the ability to overlap his wing-back (McFadzean). It is clear to see that Sawyer was once designated full-back but his experience and calm head has been a welcome asset to the Plymouth Argyle team.
Callum McFadzean, LWB – 6
Quieter than normal on an attacking front, but the former Bury wide man was solid defensively as he prevented numerous Carlisle attacks via his interceptions and well-placed positioning. However, on the other hand McFadzean struggled to have much of an attacking influence with the absence of Danny Mayor being doubtless a significant factor. The missing Mayor meant that McFadzean was unable to form his dangerous triangles and one-twos as George Cooper positioned himself much more centrally. This was a major reason for the lesser impact, but he was by no means out of the game.
Joe Edwards, DCM – 7
One of the signings of the summer, still Edwards continues to impress on a regular basis. Although the Gloucester born midfielder has little to show in the return of goals and assists, the defensive minded midfielder continues to mop up loose balls and do the dirty work throughout the midfield. A real grafter who frequently bails out his defensive teammates has proven himself as a mainstay in Lowe’s team. One of the first names on the team sheet.
George Cooper, CM – 6
With the large responsibility of creativity placed on the young shoulders of George Cooper he managed to create a sufficient amount of reasonable chances on an afternoon which lacked clear cut opportunities. A first half assist for a goal-bound Joel Grant saw Cooper collect his 2nd assist in so many games. The young winger took control of the ball before unleashing a spectacular through ball down the middle of the park which found itself to Grant. Although there is an argument to be made that the keeper should do better there is no hiding away from the quality of the delivery which led to the opener.
Antoni Sarcevic, CM – 7
An ever-present figure in the Plymouth Argyle midfield, the number 7 epitomises the box-to-box midfield role. His high intensity approach to his role allows the Greens to recover possession frequently. This pressure also limits the creativity of the opposition as they are unable to pick a pass out before Sarcevic arrives. Above all to cap off his excellent performance the former Shrew smashed the ball from outside the area straight into the top corner with his weaker foot being the weapon.
Zak Rudden, ST – 5
Despite all Rudden’s hard to work he his yet to see anything in the form of a tangible reward. A brief chance during the first half saw his effort fly into the empty seats housed in the Barn Park end and that was about all she wrote in the terms of goal scoring opportunity. However, we you can’t fault the effort the young Scotsman puts into his performances as he runs tirelessly and closes even the most hopeless of cases. You really get the feeling that it’ll take one goal and the forward will really start firing.
Joel Grant, ST – 7
Jamaican forward Joel Grant has established himself as the main source of goals for Argyle as he has bagged 3 in his last 3 matches. His neat footwork and quick burst of pace has enabled the forward to cause countless problems for his opposing defenders. Despite these prominent skills the most prominent asset to his game is his excellent finishing ability. Although todays finish was a little less glamorous compared to his previous the forward continues to get himself in the right positions more and more often and more importantly is hitting the target. An excellent performance as Joel Grant has continues his great run of form.
Byron Moore, ST – 6
An injury return for former Bury forward Byron Moore was a very welcome sight as the forward used his knowledge of the system well in order to comfortably see the game out. His pace and control were on show as he managed to get the ball down and effectively distribute the ball on more than one occasion. The instigation of Sarcevic’s brought a tangible reward to an all round positive display. The forward’s short cameo demonstrated the void he had left in the team as his skills are essential for the system to work to its maximum potential.
Billy Clarke, CM- N/A
New-boy Billy Clarke endured a small spell as he entered the fray as a second half substitute. The on-the-day signing displayed some neat footwork and composed control as he had a period in both midfield and up front.