Argyle returned comfortably to winning ways with a 3-0 victory against Forest Green on Saturday. The result was never really in any doubt from the start, as Argyle raced into a 2-0 lead before the half hour mark. The game quietened down after that point but Argyle nullified Forest Green nicely and added a third in the second half to put the game beyond any doubt. The greens sit fifth in League One with 9 points from 5 games.
Mike Cooper, GK – 7
Cooper’s kicking was a little poor at times, with a few medium range passes going out for throw ins. However, every other facet of his game was as assured and reliable as it always is. He commanded his area very well, judging well whether to punch or catch. He didn’t, in truth, have many saves to make. But, when he was called upon, he showed first rate concentration to close angles and use his body superbly. Argyle will be grateful that they seem to have got through this window without serious interest from higher placed sides in the pyramid.
Nigel Lonwijk, RCB – 8
Lonwijk was thrown into the deep end for his first league start for Argyle, following the suspension of James Wilson. The big dutch centre-back did not give travelling fans any reason to worry. His sharpness of reading the game was rivalled only by his immense pace and physical strength, dominating most duels against Forest Green forwards. Only once did he over commit and get drawn out of position, leaving a gap in behind. On the whole, a very encouraging performance and Wilson may struggle to regain his place against Bolton on Saturday.
Dan Scarr, CCB – 8
Make no mistake, we saw the best of Dan Scarr on Saturday. There’s never been any doubt that he’s the defender you want against high physicality teams and high balls into the air. Where he’s sometimes struggled a bit more is against possession football, pace and trickery. No such fear in this game. He saw the game ahead of him with clinical vision and moved into the right positions to cut off attacks before they started. His use of the ball was also clever, often realising where a short pass was needed.
Brendan Galloway, LCB – 8
Aaaah it’s good to see him back, isn’t it? Galloway demonstrated perfectly what Argyle were missing after his injury last season. As good as Gillesphey has been for Argyle in the main, Galloway is a breath of fresh air due to his total competency at pretty much everything. He too showed positional awareness but also got involved with last ditch blocks and challenges where they were needed. As well as this, he accurately played the ball out of defence to start attacks through the midfield. In short, a total Rolls Royce of a defender who we must only pray keeps fitness.
Joe Edwards, RWB – 7
Edwards switched between the left and right hand sides a few times during the game, but he adapted well to this tricky task. He never quite reached the dizzying heights of his performance against Peterborough, nor did he quite show the same level of outrageous skill as his counterpart on the other wing. He did however demonstrate reliability, game management and defensive sturdiness in spades. In fact, a classic Joe Edwards performance.
Adam Randell, RCM, 7
It was another bright display from a youngster who has taken the chance he has been given with both hands this season. One of Randell’s most admirable qualities is his tenacity. He isn’t the tallest man in the middle of the pitch but he surely has the biggest leap. That combined with his bravery and smart use of his body, means he wins physical battles as often as not. His passing vision is also something to behold – the execution on Saturday was perhaps not always perhaps but the ceiling of his potential is very high indeed.
Matt Butcher, LCM – 7
All those of you who’ve ever sat in HR or management meetings may be familiar with the ‘KISS’ principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). Butcher is perhaps the best example of this principle in action on a football field. It’s good to have contrast between the midfielder. Whilst Randell often likes a raking through ball, Butcher will generally prefer to make a short pass to someone in space who can carry it forward. He did this very well at The New Lawn and should hopefully keep his place in the side.
Bali Mumba, LWB – 8
What can we say about Mumba that we haven’t already? He is an intoxicating breath of fresh air, taking on opposition full-backs with his potent combination of raw price and frightening trickery. He got off the goalscoring mark for Argyle with a fine finish as well as setting up another goal for Finn Azaz. The only area of concern is around his temperament. Once again, Schumacher had to sub him off, after he got into a spot of handbags with an opposing player.
Finn Azaz, ARM – 8
If Mumba is the star incoming of the summer, Azaz is surely a very close number two. He scored yet another goal, his third of the season already as well as creating another one for Mumba, who would go on to return the favour for Azaz’s own goal. His close control of the ball is extraordinarily good, as is his spatial awareness. Often, players like him can be classed as a ‘luxury’. Not so Azaz who always put in a good defensive shift off the ball too. The best creative player we’ve had since Carey and Lameiras? It’s tough to argue against it.
Danny Mayor, ALM- 7
Whilst not quite such a dazzling performance as Azaz on the other side, Mayor still put in another very capable performance. He swapped sides when needed to and constantly pressed the ball well. He also registered an assist, threading a neat pass through to Argyle’s man of the match for their game-sealing goal.
Niall Ennis, ST- 9 Player of the Match.
Quite simply, the re-introduction of Niall Ennis was the biggest reason Argyle won so convincingly in this game. We mustn’t be too harsh on Ryan Hardie, he did after all score two penalties and feature in two fine wins. However, it would be fair to see he was one of the weaker areas in the start to the season for this team. Hardie suits a two up front perfectly, where his rapid movement can get behind the defenders. Yet it must be said, he is less suited to a lone striker role.
Ennis proved the perfect replacement. He constantly made second and third movements to make himself available for a medium or long range pass. Consequently, when the ball was passed to him, he held it up and distributed it with consummate ease. Argyle should go from strength to strength with Ennis as a regular starter.
Morgan Whittaker – 7
Whittaker made a bit of a slow start to his Argyle career but redeemed himself slightly with a superb consolation goal in our defeat to Charlton Athletic. He showed good capability off the bench in this game, using his freshness to exploit tired FGR legs.
Ryan Hardie – 5
As per the earlier entry, Hardie found it a lot harder than Ennis to make the ball stick when it came to him from the defence or midfield.
Jordan Houghton – N/A
He was subbed on with just over ten minutes to go and kept the ball tidily.
Macauley Gillesphey – N/A
Coming on to cover at wing-back, he had a quiet ten minutes on the field.