Winner: David Fox.
Another assured performance from David Fox who did all the simple things right as he often does. His passing was excellent with his wise decision-making to utilise the short pass when necessary well complimented by his ability to go for a killer through ball when it was really needed. The real shocker though and the one that ensures his inclusion in this article was THAT fantastic goal.
It has become a bit of an accepted meme amongst many Argyle fans that for all his many great strengths that he brings to the side, David Fox cannot find the back of the net. Unlike fellow midfielder of a few years ago Lee Cox (whose shots always seemed to skim the bar or be tipped away by a keeper), Fox has tended to hit them high, wide and handsome. That makes what happened against Wimbledon all the more special- the ball came to him from Sarcevic following a clearance from a set piece and under pressure from the defender he belted the ball into the top corner of the net with what was a spectacular finish. His joy at finally breaking his league duck was apparent to all as he leapt into the arms of his manager in celebration.
Winner: Ruben Lameiras.
Lameiras continues to develop from strength to strength with another fantastic performance that has seen him nail down his spot as one of the first names on the teamsheet. In a remarkable return from the cold, Argyle have averaged form that would see them acquire a stunning 108 points over a season since Lameiras came back into the team at the beginning of the Christmas period. He was simply too hot for Wimbledon to handle, weaving in and out of their defence as well as himself scoring a brilliantly placed goal, showing composure and accuracy.
The really exciting thing about Lameiras’ performance is paradoxically the stuff he did badly, rather than the things he did well. He missed a great chance to make it five late on but he had dribbled the ball through 4 defenders to get there, doing the hard work and leaving himself with only the keeper to beat. Lameiras is clearly a good player as shown by the number of goals he has been involved it, but what really became apparent from this game is that he is not that far from being an excellent one. That’s all before even mentioning THAT celebration…
Loser: Gary Sawyer.
Sawyer has generally been a revelation for Argyle this season, enjoying a real Indian Summer of a career. His form has been excellent and it has been his best season back at the club in spite of being 32 years of age. His reputation however took a bit of a knock with an uncharacteristically poor performance against Wimbledon. In general play, he was caught for pace a couple of times and did not get up and down the line nearly as well as his right sided counterpart Oscar Threlkeld,
His worst moments however came in a dreadful 2 minute period that nearly threw away what was an excellent win for Argyle. Rather than clearing the ball to safety, he tried to play his way out of a situation where he was being pressed tightly down the left hand side and ended up playing it to Sonny Bradley who was himself in a bit of trouble (more on that later) which led to the Dons’ second goal of the game. After that, Sawyer sold Remi Matthews short with an underhit backpass which would have led to a goal were the ball not viewed by referee to have gone out of play following the initial block by Matthews. In addition, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair put in an accomplished performance off the bench which will have Sawyer nervous for his place looking ahead to Saturday’s game at Oxford.
Loser: Sonny Bradley.
In general, Sonny Bradley’s narrative this season has been one of improvement. From a shaky start, upon his return from suspension, he formed a fantastic partnership with Ryan Edwards as the two began to gel and Argyle climbed up the league. Since Edwards has been out of the side, Bradley has been equally effective alongside Zak Vyner in what is perhaps a more balanced pairing whereby Bradley’s brute strength and canniness compliments Vyner’s technique and pace.
This however was not at all the case against Wimbledon. Bradley put in a shaky performance where he could have done better for both goals. His slow turning circle was exposed by the speed of Lyle Taylor for the first goal, the Wimbledon striker getting away from Bradley (whom he forced to turn with his sharp movement) deftly before slotting the ball past Remi Matthews. For the second, Sawyer’s part has already been well detailed but it only found the net when Bradley (rather than just getting it out of play for a corner) tried a one-two with Sawyer but it was intercepted by that man Taylor again who bundled it into the net. Bradley has been and remains a fine servant to the club but this was far from his finest hour.