Despite the disappointing season for Plymouth Argyle, we here at Argyle Life would like to celebrate some of the high points of the 2018/19 campaign by handing out some Argyle Life Awards. We’ve discussed the candidates amongst ourselves, chosen our winners, and now join us as we look back fondly at the best (mostly) of the 2018/2019 season.
Player of the Season – Ruben Lameiras
We revealed our Argyle Life Player of the Season about three and a half weeks ago, and the Portuguese playmaker headed the list. Spearheading the charge up the table following his return to the side, Lameiras contributed to 49% of Argyle’s goals when he was on the pitch 34% overall, with 12 goals, and 9 assists.
Signing of the Season – Freddie Ladapo
There was little doubt in our minds about who the best signing of the summer was. Adam’s seemed to strike out on the majority of players who he brought to the club in the summer of 2018, and it may have contributed to his eventual departure. Freddie Ladapo was a clear exception.
While he struggled against most of the better teams of the division, and his weak hold-up and different style of play play limited Argyle’s attack over the course of the season, his individual performances helped him stand out ahead of any other signings. With 18 league goals, and some dominating performances, Ladapo has proved to be a valuable pick up for the Pilgrims, and should excel in the fourth tier under Ryan Lowe.
Most Improved Player – Joel Grant
There were limited options to pick from when looking at a player who’d significantly improved from their previous Argyle campaign. The majority of players had either only joined us this season, or had regressed/plateaued compared to the previous season. However, one name did stand out among the rest, and that was Joel Grant.
Joel Grant, while unfortunately limited in his appearances due to a season ending injury sustained at Christmas time, was having a bright start to the season. He showed statistical improvements across the board, due in part to a change in play style, allowing him to drift inside more often. Hopefully should he resign with the club, he will continue this into the 2019/2020 season. For more on Joel Grants improvements, see the link below.
Performance of the Season – Gillingham (H)
We’re hoping that we will have more performances to choose from next season. Some notable exclusions include the home fixtures against Rochdale and Fleetwood, however we’re giving performance of the season to the home game against Gillingham. A dominating display from the Pilgrims allowed them to collect maximum points in late October, launching the club into a spell of form and relieving pressure on Derek Adams and his team.
Two first half goals from Freddie Ladapo, including an excellent shot placed into the top-right corner of the goal, had Argyle up and cruising at half time. Freddie then turned creator to play in Lameiras for the third, and though Gillingham did manage to get one back shortly after with a long-range shot following a set-piece, Argyle saw the victory home.
Moment of the Season – Ryan Edwards’ Opening Goal vs Wallsall (A)
Given the result of the season, we think its rather fitting that the Moment of the Season came in the opening game. While Carey’s euphoric goal against Scunthorpe to give us the momentary belief that we were staying up on the final day, and Lameiras’ turnaround against Coventry were spectacular, some things are indeed bigger than football.
Ryan Edwards, who was robbed of a large part of last season due to his cancer diagnosis and treatment, returned to the team to open the campaign and banged in the opening goal to the delight of the travelling support. Following a well-taken Conor Grant free kick, Edwards broke free and buried a controlled volley past the Walsall keeper. With all the negativity surrounding the season, this is a memory we all look back on fondly, and we’re all glad to see that Ryan seems to have recovered well.
Goal of the Season – David Fox vs Wimbledon (A)
Argyle had less trouble scoring goals this season then keeping them out, and found the net with a number of crackers throughout the campaign. Some fantastic efforts included Carey’s free-kick against Portsmouth and, a personal favourite of mine, Lameiras’ incredible solo effort against Oxford. However, David Fox gets the nod from us.
I think Fox himself would probably admit he hasn’t struck many better than this. A clearance was lifted into the air by a Wimbledon player and knocked into the path of Fox by Gary Sawyer. The midfielder raced to the ball and lashed a looping effort to the right of the goal and over the scrambling keeper. A superb effort!
Assist of the Season – Graham Carey vs Wimbledon (H)
Graham Carey, usually the Pilgrims main source of goals in the last couple of seasons, turned creator this season, racking up 11 league assists; the best of which came for Freddie Ladapo’s winner against Wimbledon back in early October, earning him our Assist of the Season award.
Following a short Lameiras corner, Carey picked the ball up near the edge of play, a little inside the penalty area. He then proceeded to lift the ball effortlessly to the back post, and left it in on a plate for Ladapo to turn in the winner 15 minutes from time. The key behind this decision was just how effortless he made the goal for Ladapo; that is the mark of a perfect assist.
Save of the Season – Matt Macey vs Bristol Rovers (H)
While Matt Macey was the recipient of some criticism throughout the season, he did make some excellent saves. A worthwhile inclusion would be his double save against Scunthorpe’s during our trip to Glanford Park. While you could argue his first save was poor in parrying it straight to a Scunthorpe player, his second was an excellent reflex save to stop the follow-up.
However, we’re going to give Save of the Season to Macey’s effort against Bristol Rovers. An in-swinging cross was left by Songo’o during one of his weekly brain farts and met at the back post by Nicholls, but – instinctively – Macey leapt down low to stop the ball and get it away, only to get back up to his feet to see the follow-up effort sail over his crossbar. A superb piece of goalkeeping.
Celebration of the Season – Ladapo vs Millwall (A)
Ladapo has brought out some good celebrations in the form of dancing throughout the season. And since Carey’s celebrations and the crowd reactions after going 3-2 up on the final day were tainted by the final outcome so we’re going to go for one from Argyle’s leading scorer.
Following a great tackle by Jamie Ness, and a good drive from Ladapo, he wheeled away after coolly sliding the ball past the keeper and proceeded to show off some moves in front of the travelling support.
Miss of the Season – Stuart O’Keefe vs Oxford (A)
Stuart O’Keefe’s most notable contribution in a green shirt was a negative one. While a number of Ladapo misfires and some other candidates were considered, we decided to give the ‘award’ to the on-loan midfielder.
Ashley Smith-Brown, received the ball after an incisive pass and played in Ladapo. The ball was nicked away from him but it fell perfectly for O’Keefe, who only had the keeper to beat. He struck the ball with conviction, and missed by a long way. What’s funnier is that on the video, you can see the ball come down in the car park.
Comedic Moment of the Season – Tafari Moore vs Shrewsbury
Hahahahahahaha. Ahahahahahahahahaha. Hahahahaha. Hahaha. [Inhales] haaaaa….