Plymouth Argyle had to settle for a point against Shrewsbury Town, with a series of good opportunities wasted. Conor Grant’s left-foot came good for the second week running, helping the club to another league point as they remain unbeaten.

Michael Cooper, GK – 7

There really wasn’t much for Cooper to do. Yes, he picked the ball out of his net before fifteen minutes had passed, but a big deflection off Scott Wootton gave him little chance on first viewing. Otherwise, he only had one save to make and made it. Notably, he clung on well to a deflected shot when spilling it would have handed Udoh a tap-in.

He handling was good, offering a more commanding presence inside his box than he had in previous games, though Shrewsbury aren’t the tallest of teams and offered limited aerial threat.

Scott Wootton, CB – 5

Under pressure after last week, Wootton struggled at the beginning of this game before settling back into his rhythm in the second half. It’s possible Wootton would not have even started had Will Aimson not been out of the squad (which makes him the probable player to have received a positive Coronavirus diagnosis).

Wootton made a few sloppy errors in the first half, including giving the ball away under little pressure to allow a dangerous counter. Most notably, he could have done much better when heading a cross away from his box, the ball dropping two yards out of the area and ending up in the back of the net seconds later. Granted, he was running backwards when he headed it, but he was under no pressure from an attacker so should have done better. It’s also possible he could have done better when blocking the shot, but I don’t want to say that until I’ve seen it again.

Niall Canavan, CB – 7

Canavan made a welcome return to the team and added a calming element in defence it seems. Then again, Shrewsbury aren’t the strongest team going forward so that possibly disguises his true impact on the team.

Canavan added a dominant aerial presence in the middle of the defence, winning eight of nine headers, and consistently positioned himself to block and clear crosses. The man is definitely too calm in possession for his own good at times, but that helped Argyle avoid giving the ball away as needlessly as they have in recent weeks – not that it didn’t happen.

Kelland Watts, CB – 6

Watts Started a bit slow in the first half as Shrewsbury target his wing. He lacked support at times from Cooper, who missed some opportunities to put pressure on the ball and allowed the opposition to build up down the wing.

Did better in the second half, pressing well as Shrewsbury posed little attacking threat, and played an excellent through ball to pick out Cooper (or was it Mayor?) in the box, but it didn’t come to anything. Better performance than last week, which will help him as he now faces increased pressure on his place from new signing Jerome Opoku.

Lewis Macleod, DM – 4

Was Macleod pulled for injury or for performance? He certainly did not start well, giving the ball away six times in 30 minutes before the substitution. Given Camara came on rather than Edwards, with Grant moving to defensive midfield, it suggests the move was tactical.

It was a smart move in the end, given that Shrewsbury offered little attacking threat in his position and allowed Argyle to hold more control of the ball and reduce the number of counter attacking opportunities.

Byron Moore, RWB – 6

Moore was fine. Nothing outstanding in defence. Nothing outstanding in attack. He pressed nicely at times, but pulled out of two easy opportunities to win the ball back and counter. He suffered from the lack of support down the wing: while Mayor and Cooper worked together as a pair, Moore often received the ball and was abandoned. That Wootton offered him the most support said a lot.

Conor Grant, CM – 7, player of the match

Grant gets player of the match because he was the player to score the goal that won Argyle the point. Other than that moment, he lacked inspiration and could have done more to assert Argyle’s strength in possession from defensive midfield, but he did at least kill Shrewsbury’s attacking momentum for the most part by doing the simple things right.

Yet, despite being quiet in attack – and a touch disappointing in defence – he caught the eye once more with his goal. Smart play to slow the game down, work the space to cut the ball onto his left foot and then bend it into the far corner. Excellent goal, exactly what we want to be seeing from Grant when he gets in that position.

Danny Mayor, CM – 7

Mayor is as Mayor does. Plenty of intelligent dribbling, making angles, creating space, but lacked the cutting edge that Argyle needed. Made space for teammates, but too many players between him and goal was the issue again. Had one good position to shoot but saw his effort well blocked after good defensive work.

George Cooper, LWB – 6

Hit and miss for Cooper. Should have pressed better in defence at times, allowing a cross to come in when he could have closed the space more. In attack, his movement was often smart, dropping inside when Mayor switched out to the wing and allowing himself to pick up possession at the top of the area, but his shots from his right foot were too soft to threaten the goal.

His crossing was frustrating. Some beautiful crosses that nobody got on the end of, and some that were too low, high or wide.

Dominic Telford, ST – 6

Positives: great attacking movement, making him the most likely member of the striker force to score. Negatives: failing to convert the chances that were presented to him. His first, he positioned himself well, between two defenders, shifted the ball well and got a good shot across the ‘keeper but it was too close for it to beat his reach. For the second, he jumped well and directed his header on target, but again it was just within the ‘keeper’s reach.

The third however, a rebound from the second shot, should have been a goal. Yes, he was stretching for it with a defender and the ‘keeper positioning himself well to save, but a bit of elevation would have seen it in the back of the net and the scores at 1-1. I’d persist with Telford because he’s clearly not a Rudden, but it’s frustrating to watch his instincts get him in the right place, only to not convert some of these chances. Two goals this season, but he should have more.

Frank Nouble, ST – 6

Worked hard, did a lot of build-up work but could have been sharper when opportunities to attack came his way. On the end of a swift counter-attack but couldn’t find the spot to squeeze the ball past the ‘keeper under a bit of defensive pressure, on his weaker foot.

Substitutes

Panutche Camara, CM – 5

Camara got a few plaudits on social media but I’m not so sure. His pressing was excellent at times, helping win the ball back and turnover possession. In particular, his hard work helped spring a quick counter, with Hardie working the ball to Nouble, only to see his shot saved from wide in the box.

Yet, in possession he was again too slow. Too long to move the ball, and too often backwards. Only twice did he pass the ball into the final third, and only two of his touches were in the final third of the pitch. This was a game in which Argyle needed to break down a pretty deep Shrewsbury team, rather than win the ball back against a high-pressing Blackpool, and so didn’t suit him so much.

Ryan Hardie, ST – 6

Relegated to the bench after Telford grabbed his second of the season but was called from the bench with 24 minutes left. Looked threatening, but the ball didn’t fall for him. A snap-shot with seconds left went well wide.

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