Graham Carey’s late penalty proved to be the crucial difference in Argyle’s victory over Shrewsbury Town- – the Pilgrims’ fifth win in their last seven home games.
Matt Macey – 7
Derek Adams may face a selection headache when Kyle Letheren returns to full fitness, based on this display from Macey, which, like Saturday, was assured. His command of area was solid and his dealing with long balls played into the area (often an Achilles heel of his) was good. His distribution was a little mixed and he could potentially have kicked Ollie Norburn’s weak penalty further out of danger.
Joe Riley – 6
Adams’ usual tactic of sitting the full-backs quite narrow to prevent underlapping runs meant that Shrewsbury looked to play the ball wide and drag Riley out. He held position reasonably well however, and his contribution going forward was decent. He still faces stiff competition for the starting right-back slot however with both Oscar Threlkeld and Ashley Smith-Brown being capable alternatives.
Ryan Edwards – 6
There was the odd shanked clearance and missed header from Edwards, the latter probably down to the wind which caused havoc throughout the match – however he did his job well defensively. Distribution remains an issue, although with a decent ball-playing centre-half paired with him this can normally be masked.
Niall Canavan – 5
… normally, but not always. Canavan made uncharacteristic errors tonight, with missed tackles and some passes that were way off target. He at least put in some good last-ditch defending, but both centre-backs’ lack of passing accuracy meant Argyle struggled to build attacks from the back and were forced into long punts up to Freddie Ladapo on too many occasions.
Gary Sawyer – 4
So often the reliable and dependable full-back, Sawyer had a poor game. His passing wasn’t up to scratch, not just in terms of accuracy but also he occasionally overplayed in dangerous areas – very unlike him as he is normally a good decision-maker and will take the safe option. He got dribbled past on a number of occasions too, which is sometimes the case when coming up against an opposition player with flair and pace.
David Fox – 7
A far better performance than Saturday and was nearly capped with a stunning left-footed volley that forced the Shrewsbury goalkeeper into a smart save. His passing was strong and he covered a lot of ground. The worry for Adams will now be whether Fox is capable of getting through another 90 minutes on Saturday at Fleetwood.
Yann Songo’o – 5
Last Saturday proved that Songo’o is pivotal in the right situation. Tonight proved that he should only be used in those situations. He made the odd excellent and incisive pass, but as usual lacked the consistency in his passing. His ability to win headers continues to be a concern in central midfield too.
Antoni Sarcevic – 6
It was a welcome return to the team after a two-game suspension, and whilst it wasn’t quite the performance we all know he is capable of, he did well at both ends of the pitch. He perhaps could have done better with an early opportunity when the ball fell to him and the goalkeeper was well out of his area.
Graham Carey – 7 (Man of the Match)
It looked for a while like Carey had cost us two points with a clumsy challenge just inside the box. It is far from the first penalty Carey has given away this season, and is something that needs to be looked at by the coaching team and Carey himself. However, that aside, the Irishman was excellent. His passing and interchange with Ruben Lameiras was delightful, he had a decent effort deflected into the side netting, and proved to be the match-winner with a clinical penalty.
Ruben Lameiras – 6
Whilst he did offer some truly breathtaking moments of skill and nimble footwork, Lameiras’ work on the ball was very hot and cold. On another day, his sensational solo run through the Shrewsbury defence would have been the match winner – as it was, it was brilliantly deflected around the post. He struggled physically when defending as is sometimes the case with him. Credit must be given for being alive to play the short corner routine leading to Argyle’s opening goal, as well as winning the late penalty.
Freddie Ladapo – 5
The remarkable record of scoring goals against teams in the bottom half continues. He again showed poacher’s instincts to poke home from the short corner, and his contribution to winning Argyle’s penalty was also critical. However, even for his standards, his aerial ability and work rate looked lacking tonight. For long periods of the game, Argyle were hitting long balls up to him that were coming straight back. Ryan Taylor must surely be considered for games when Argyle are likely to be on the back foot.
Oscar Threlkeld (substitute) – 6
With neither Fox’s (fitness) nor Songo’o’s (passing ability) place in the side nailed down currently, Threlkeld may well be needed in midfield in the closing weeks of the season. As it was tonight, Threlkeld came on at right-back and did a reasonable job defensively, albeit with a few errors.