Another disappointing day at the office for Plymouth Argyle with a stoppage time equaliser ending the hopes of a first home win since August. Argyle stuck to the 3-4-3 system that got them a win at Mansfield but found it much harder to get a foothold in the game against opposition who were content to sit back, frustrate and hit us on the counter attack.
Alex Palmer, GK – 5
After his heroics at Mansfield last week, this was a distantly ordinary afternoon for the West Brom stopper. He didn’t exactly have a bad game and you can’t say there’s a lot he can do for either of the goals. In truth, he wasn’t really tested in any great way apart from the goals – and the missed 1-v-1. However, there were aspects of his general play that were a little concerning.
He didn’t seem to be proactive in claiming the ball in his six yard box and his distribution was consistently mediocre throughout. Improvement will be needed, especially if Michael Cooper puts in a good display in the EFL Trophy against Swindon in midweek.
Scott Wootton, CB – 5
A performance that whilst not quite hitting his terrible lows of last season, hasn’t matched the highs he’s produced in a few games this time out. He does seem to be getting a little better in the air as a general rule – by which you can take to mean, it isn’t a foregone conclusion when he competes for a header that the striker will win it.
However, this is still a weak spot and he was pulled out of position for Scunthorpe’s first goal. He really should have been covering behind Edwards after Scunthorpe double-teamed him to get in-behind down the right, and prevented the cross. He didn’t do anything terribly wrong bar this, but that’s enough to knock him down by at least a point.
Will Aimson, CB – 7
An odd one to assess. He’s a defender who scored two goals at the right end and put in a defensive display that was largely solid, winning surely more headers than he lost in addition to largely solid positional play. There is a reason why he’s on a 7 rather than an 8 or even higher and that is that he could have done better for both of the goals from a defensive perspective.
He was out of his position for the first and, whilst Josh Grant can’t be excused for the second, Aimson should have stepped forward to win the header from the goal-kick, which would cleared the danger before Scunthorpe got close to our goal. He’s a good improvement to our back line but we’re yet to see his finest form.
Gary Sawyer, CB – 7, Player of the Match
Sawyer has received some criticism this season for being too slow to keep up, as his lack of aerial ability. Whilst these criticisms aren’t untrue on a general level, they can’t really be levelled at his performance in this game. He won most of the important duels in the air as well as generally keeping his position and reading the game in front of him pretty well.
His passing out from the back was also commendable, often under some pressure from the attacking forwards. He could have done more at times but his was arguably the only display today without any major flaws.
Joe Edwards, RWB – 5
It just didn’t happen for him today and he was understandably subbed off at half-time. Whilst he can’t really be blamed for being left two vs one in the lead up to Scunthorpe’s opener, his general play was very sloppy and he gave the ball away at a number of critical moments.
He was dribbled past on more occasions than one and whilst he had some very good away performances in this position, it just didn’t click today. It’s interesting that he was subbed off at half-time rather than simply moved into the DCM role. Perhaps a sign Lowe is losing patience after performances that have trended slightly downhill since his excellent August?
Antoni Sarcevic, CM – 7
Another game from Sarcevic and another display that whilst decent enough, didn’t really do a great deal to move us on in our progression as a side. His levels of energy and defensive effort were, as they always are, pretty good. Once again, he fell short in creativity.
He doesn’t quite make the jinking runs to pick up the ball in the same way Danny Mayor does and he never quite dispels the impression that Jose Baxter may make a better option in this role when fully fit. Yet, he was one of the least of our issues today with use of the ball being pretty sensible throughout to add to his expected passion and workrate.
Conor Grant, CM – 4
After writing very positively about Grant throughout September when he was out of the team, and with regard to his performance at Mansfield last week, I also need to be honest and say when he had a bad game and this was certainly one.
He didn’t exactly do a lot wrong he just didn’t really…do a lot. His passing ratio was fine but too often he was just passive for large spells of the game and waited for the ball to come to him rather than him making a proactive effort to go after it. This coupled with his lack of defensive awareness in the game spells concern for his chances of staying in the side.
Callum McFadzean, LWB – 5
A very frustrating display from the wing-back who never got the connection going with Mayor that we usually see from the pair. His defensive work was decent enough without ever being great, but few of their attacks came down their right hand side so we can at least commend him for that.
He was inarguably very wasteful going forward. It very rarely came to much when he had the ball due to him often making the wrong decision. And, I’m sorry, somebody needs to have a word with him about the diving. It’s getting to the point where he’s going down before he feels a touch and overuse of it quells our attacks. He’s lucky not to find himself booked for it.
Joel Grant, AM – 6
Very energetic. Very involved. Too wasteful. Nobody can fault his work-rate or even his attacking intent. He didn’t shy out of the game at all, nor was he found wanting when it came to tracking back. However, he surrendered possession far more times than somebody in a creative role ought to do and he never looked to be a serious goal threat either.
Whilst it did secure a win at Mansfield, continuing with the 3-4-3 system was not the best approach to take at home to one of the bottom placed sides in the division.
Danny Mayor, AM – 5
After a fantastic September when he was perhaps our only player to have a truly good month rather than just a decent one, Mayor had one of his worst games for the club against the iron. He just didn’t get on the ball to begin his usual jinking runs in the way he often does and his use of the ball was at best unremarkable.
Of course, anyone can have an off day, but there’s more to it than that. Where this does show cause for concern is how Mayor’s poor performance seems to dovetail with our poor performance as a team. He’s our best player but we shouldn’t have to be dependent on him.
Ryan Taylor, ST – 4
What can we really say about Taylor here that doesn’t risk rehashing what we’ve written about him in previous articles in a more exasperated fashion? He’s a good striker: for the right system. Last season was the right system.
This season, all that he generally serves to do is slow us down. He just doesn’t make the runs we need strikers to be making, meaning our attacking midfielders need to find other ways of working the ball into the box. Though he showed some signs of getting there earlier this season, he just isn’t equipped to be a poacher.
Zak Rudden, ST – 7
This was certainly one of his more convincing displays for the greens so far, looking lively and involved off the bench as well as having a decent amount of success when it came to his passing.
Unlike Taylor, he made clever runs that frightened the Scunthorpe defence and was very unlucky to not score following a goalmouth scramble with himself and Callum McFadzean not long before the greens took the lead.
Joe Riley, RWB – 5
He’s getting a lot of criticism for being the one to let the ball run out for the goal kick from which Scunthorpe scored their second goal but in all truth, we should have defended bit better. That said, it wasn’t a particularly inspiring half from the right wing back after we switched to 3-5-2.
His end product has never been great but today he showed worrying signs of a nosebleed whenever we tried to push the ball forward with the wing-back rarely overlapping at all. To his credit, his defensive work was solid enough if unspectacular.
Josh Grant, DM – n/a
He wasn’t on for long enough to be rated but he should have done a lot better defending Scunthorpe’s second goal. In truth, he barely even jumped showcasing another example of his weakness in the air.