Another game. Another host of chances wasted. Whilst Plymouth Argyle would hardly be fighting for promotion if they had a few players who could finish their chances, they certainly would not be languishing at the bottom of League One, something that was again evident in Saturday’s 3-1 FA Cup defeat to Bradford.
Once more Argyle were left to rue their wastefulness in front of goal as two Jake Jervis efforts, either side of Romain Vincelot’s opener for the Bantams proved to be the difference between the sides going into half-time. Though it could be argued that this was a much better Pilgrims performance than the one that brought about a surprise 1-0 win a few weeks ago, Derek Adams’ side simply looked bereft of ideas until the game was very much past them at 3-1 down. Going into half-time a goal down was very much against the run of play, but so was Graham Carey’s goal to bring his side back into the game at 2-1.
The frustrating thing for myself and the Green Army this season has very much been a lack of clinical finishing in front of goal. It has seemed at times that we have almost played for a 1-0 scoreline all season, bar one or two exceptions. This might seem a contradictory statement given my previous remark of Jervis’ two golden chances yesterday, the bottom line is that this is nothing new and once we go behind in a game, all hope of a win is seemingly out of the window. Adams’ side have only scored more than once on just two occasions in the league against Charlton and Northampton, the latter of which were possibly the worst side Argyle have faced so far this season. The other two occasions where the side scored two of course were the less important Checkatrade games against Chelsea U21’s and Exeter City.
It seems to be a continuing trend that goals are a problem, with the Devon side the third worst in the Football League (contrary to yesterday’s commentator ruling them the worst). Birmingham (10) and Burton (12) are the only sides to fare worse, with Northampton, Wimbledon, Gillingham and Morecambe having also scored 15 goals to date so far this season. With these statistics in mind, next Saturday’s home encounter with Gillingham will be all the more important, especially given that just three points currently seperate the bottom six sides in the division.
As Argyle find themselves overly reliant on Graham Carey, perhaps more so than in the previous two campaigns, it really does raise the question as to how dead and buried the club would be if not for some of his match winning/saving displays so far this season. There is no doubt that Championship clubs could be circling for the Irishman in January and Adams will have to work quickly in order to add numbers to the ranks that are sorely needed, particularly up front with a number of players failing to impress. I mentioned this in my last article as well but even on Saturday, the likes of Gregg Wylde and Ruben Lamieras weren’t involved in the matchday squad, along with Nathan Blissett, despite all being fit and available. Regardless of the good news that Ryan Taylor has returned to the side, scoring the Checkatrade defeat to Yeovil, he alone will not be enough since he is not the regular goalscorer that we need to survive in this division. Many will hope the side splash the cash in January, whether that’s for an out-of-favour Championship forward or in-form League Two or non-league forward though is yet to be seen.