Plymouth Argyle took to the pitch 182 days after “end of season” battering of Macclesfield Town as professional football returned to Home Park in the form of a Carabao Cup. Championship outfit Queens Park Rangers, managed by Mark Warburton, selected a strong side but they were no match for Ryan Lowe’s newly promoted Plymouth Argyle side.
Mike Cooper, GK – 7
Ryan Lowe has put his trust in Cooper for this season and his first outing as Plymouth Argyle’s number 1 was a successful one as a catalogue of impressive saves demonstrated Cooper’s potential to become a main stay in Argyle’s starting eleven.
Cooper was up against an impressive QPR side that were by no means shy to have a go. Yet, he answered most of the questions the opponents asked of him. Some are pushing some blame towards him for the second goal but upon review it is clear to see that Cooper’s view was obstructed and even the best of keepers would have struggled.
Will Aimson, CB – 7
Many touted Will Aimson to be like a new signing this season and the former Bury centre-half did not disappoint. Aimson was up against tricky winger Bright Osayi-Samuel for most of the game, who has previously been tipped to be a part of a £4 million transfer to a Belgian outfit.
Aimson is likely not to have a more difficult task this season, but he demonstrated excellent pace and more importantly superb decision making to deny the tricky winger from scoring on the day.
Scott Wootton, CB – 8
Wootton made the transition from right sided centre back to central centre back and the position change appears to be a welcome one. He put in a stellar performance both aerially and in terms of distribution out of the back. A highlight of Wootton’s afternoon was his goal line clearance after Oteh rounded Cooper at 2-2.
Wootton is rapidly removing his reputation from the Adams era and is quickly becoming a trusted member of the back 3.
Kelland Watts, CB – 6
Although Watts takes a lower rating than his defensive counterparts that does not mean he had a poor afternoon. Watts was defensively very effective but suffered somewhat from the occasional rushed pass.
We saw him quite often opt to hit the ball down the line when Macleod was in space. In comparison, when watching Aimson you’ll see him decide to play the ball inside more often than his Geordie counterpart. Only a slight criticism for Watts’ performance this afternoon but all in all a very effective performance.
Lewis Macleod, CDM – 9, player of the match
Macleod was, by far, today’s stand out performer as he epitomised the concept of a box to box midfielder. His high tempo was matched with some excellent passing as he, much like Grant, enabled the Greens to keep on ticking and progress up the pitch.
However, despite this his most impressive attribute today was his ability to hassle players off the ball in positions where QPR looked comfortable. It was this hassling that subsequently resulted in the first goal being scored.
Joe Edwards, RWB – 8
A tidy performance from Joe Edwards saw him demonstrate a vast amount of defensive solidity whilst also contributing on the attacking front.
Edwards found himself on the scoresheet after he overlapped Ryan Hardie to perfection before slotting it into the goal receiving the ball from the Scotsman. Another point of note is that Edwards was superb in terms of pressing the opposition. He often pressed QPR players and hassled them off the ball with great effect. An impressive performance from today’s captain.
Conor Grant, CM – 7
Although some would say it was a quiet performance from Conor Grant this afternoon, he did not put a foot wrong. Although Grant did not do anything spectacular throughout the afternoon, he was an important cog in the Argyle side today as he distributed the ball effectively and kept the machine ticking.
However, when called upon Grant did come up trumps as he provided the cross for Argyle’s third and decisive goal.
Danny Mayor, CM – 8
An impressive performance from Mayor saw him match his goal tally from last season in less than a game. His goal came on the break, with a neat shimmy making the space for him to bend the ball with his right foot from the edge of the area neatly inside the near post.
Mayor was another member of the effective midfield unit whom allowed Argyle to keep ticking. However, unlike his counterparts he offered a different edge to his game via his excellent ball carrying ability. On number occasions Mayor was seen cutting in from the left flank and causing problems although most of those shots were blocked.
George Cooper, LWB – 7
After breaking Argyle twitter earlier this week George Cooper slotted straight back into the Argyle eleven at his native left-wing-back role. The assist king picked up straight where he left off by laying the ball to Mayor for the second goal and, although he was defensively absent at times, this will only improve – after all he has only known Watts for less than a week.
Ryan Hardie, ST – 7
Much like Cooper, Hardie has picked up from where he left last season, but the goal scorer turned provider this afternoon after he slotted Joe Edwards through on goal just after the half-hour mark.
Hardie also contributed to the defensive side of the game to a more than satisfactory extent as he dropped deep when Argyle did not have the ball to ease George Cooper’s workload. By dropping back he was able to overload the areas out wide and make it harder for QPR to create opportunities.
Frank Nouble, ST – 8
Although Nouble had a relatively quiet first half, the much-traveled forward had a much more productive second half. We saw Nouble demonstrate some effective hold-up play throughout the second half, his tank like structure enabled him to take the ball down and distribute it effectively. He gave Argyle an outlet for when they were backs to the wall.
However, more importantly, Nouble found himself on the score sheet in the 78th minute thanks to a lethal first-time volley that cannoned into the roof of the net courtesy of a Conor Grant cross, with what proved to be the winning goal.
Dominic Telford, ST – n/a
Telford entered the fray just a minute before Nouble’s winner therefore we didn’t get to see much from the forward as a result of a change in momentum but from what we saw the nippy striker looked sharp and did what was asked of him. He also played the ball to Conor Grant prior to Nouble’s goal.
Panutche Camará, CM – n/a
Camará was introduced during the 85th minute so didn’t have particularly long to make his mark on the game but he certainly didn’t disappoint. The midfielder demonstrated the running we were all looking forward to and certainly showed glimpses of quality that is enough to get us excited about.
Ryan Law, LWB – n/a
The final substitution was made in the 89th minute and to be fair to Law he didn’t put a foot wrong. Unfortunately the youngster wasn’t on the pitch for long enough to leave a lasting effect on the game.