Winners & Losers: Gillingham
Winner: Ryan Taylor
Taylor’s return to the starting line-up was welcomed by Argyle on Saturday as the team came out victorious, winning 2-1. Although Taylor did not get on the scoresheet himself, it was clear for all to see throughout the ninety minutes how the Greens have missed the tall striker and his hold up play ever since his injury against Peterborough with the season was less than half-an-hour old. Though Jake Jervis had done a good job playing as the lone striker in recent weeks, it was a welcome sight to see players finally starting in their best positions and gelling together as a team.
What was so pleasing to witness was that Argyle played along the ground and did not revert to long ball tactics, which enabled them to keep possession for longer periods of time and for us fans to see what they’re capable of, something we haven’t seen much of so far. The improved passing play suited Taylor exceptionally well as he was able to hold the ball up and find to the oncoming Carey or Grant. Unsurprisingly, Taylor played a major role in the opening goal, flicking the ball into Grant’s path as he finished from close range.
Since arriving at Home Park, Ryan Taylor has been involved in a goal every 95.3 minutes – 5 goals; 7 assists; 3 second assists
Loser: Gary Sawyer
After the unfortunate news that Luke McCormick had suffered a reoccurrence of an ankle injury earlier in the week, it was time for Gary Sawyer to put on the captains armband once again, but going by his recent performances this was one of his off games. On a number of occasions, Sawyer overcommitted to 50/50 challenges and handed the opposition chances to deliver a cross into the box for their target-men Tom Eaves and Conor Wilkinson. Meanwhile, during the second half Gillingham were able to have too much fun down the right with, Sawyer caught watching his man and not the ball, though ultimately this didn’t end up leading to anything. With Threlkeld returning to fitness, this performance certainly puts Sawyer’s place in the starting line up at risk, and given Aaron Taylor-Sinclair’s solid performances at left-back of late it, Adams will surely have a selection dilemma in the near future.
Winner: Kelle Roos
Roos became Argyle’s seventh goalkeeper of the season – a record for the Greens – joining on an emergency loan from Derby County on Friday and slotted straight into the team. Whilst Argyle controlled the majority of the game, Roos was called upon many times during the ninety minutes to keep the Gills out – in particular during added time – to ensure they finished the afternoon with all three points.
At important junctures in the game, he made important interventions. Moments after Grant had put the Pilgrims, ahead Roos made a superb stop to deny former Pilgrim, and now Gillingham captain, Lee Martin after Sean Clare had made great progress down the Argyle right hand side. Then, after his one mistake of the game when Tom Eaves lobbed Roos to level the scores, it was great to see him put the disappointment of conceding behind him as he denied Gillingham another equaliser moments from full time.
Loser: Yann Songo’o
With Taylor coming straight back into the starting eleven, Songo’o was the player to be dropped to the bench. From his recent performances his name would normally have been first on the team sheet come 2pm on a Saturday afternoon, however, Argyle coped well in his absence and were largely solid defensively. Even though the players showed spirit to grind out a result, they were placed under huge amounts of pressure by Gillingham, which ultimately led to Songo’os introduction for the final fifteen minutes as the Pilgrims dropped deeper and deeper, hoping to see out their 1-0 lead. Whilst this did not go to plan, Argyle grinded out a result and took all three points to lift themselves off the bottom of League One and within three points of survival – signalling that Adams may consider Songo’o’s position as under threat.
In the league matches from Shrewsbury to Portsmouth, Songo’o has won more than twice as many duels (40) from midfield as David Fox (19) despite playing nearly half the number of minutes.
Winner: Toumani Diagouraga
Match-winner Toumani Diagouraga scored his first goal for Argyle and -based on his performances – it was thoroughly deserved. His frequent runs from box to box have been a feature of his play since his arrival at Home Park, but just as importantly he has brought with him experience of playing League One and Championship football, which was severely lacking. His excellent displays and leadership qualities have shone through and you wouldn’t realise he’d only been a member of the team for such a short time.
What has really impressed the Green Army is his ability to hold off opposition players, glide past them and pick out a pass. When he loses the ball he is the first to win possession back – on a number of occasions today we saw this – and not to mention his cheeky flicks.