Plymouth Argyle fans will slice this one up depending on whether they’re a glass half-empty or half-full supporter. Those with a positive outlook will see this as a point gained on Exeter and Swindon, who both lost. Those with a negative outlook see the two points dropped, yet again against Crawley.
Alex Palmer, GK – 5
I have to say, this was a difficult rating to give. Palmer had some good moments across the game, and perhaps given time I’ll look back on this in retrospect and say that a 5 rating was possibly too harsh. There’s no doubt, however, that Palmer wasn’t at his best. He was perhaps unlucky with both goals – after all, they were scored from a combined distance of around a yard – but his distribution seemed laboured at times. A monumental mix-up with Niall Canavan also looked for a moment like it was going to lead to Crawley taking a 2-0 lead in calamitous fashion.
Scott Wootton, CB – 5
Not the best performance from Argyle’s number 5, you’d have to say. Crawley’s first goal was the second occasion this season that a clearance from Wootton has bounced directly off another player and fallen kindly for the opposition, after the Bristol Rovers palaver in the FA Cup. It looks unlucky, but you have to wonder how much poor technique may also be involved with it happening more than once. Seemed surprisingly weak in the tackle on occasions, which has been unlike him in recent months.
Niall Canavan, CB – 7
The Irishman is very quickly becoming the vital cog in Argyle’s defensive machine, if he isn’t already. His ability in the air is unrivalled in Argyle’s backline, as we saw again on Tuesday night. And whilst he isn’t required to bring the ball out from the back quite as much as his defensive teammates, his distribution is still more than good enough. He was desperately unlucky to have Wootton kick the ball against his backside for Crawley’s opener, but he was on hand early in the second half to clear as the ball again bobbled around Argyle’s goalmouth. A top, top defender for this level.
Gary Sawyer, CB – 7
Much more comfortable than Wootton on the opposite side of the defence. There’s not much more to say in this case other than the fact it was a quintessential Sawyer performance, and the mark of a man who has fully grown into his new role. He looked solid defensively as always, and linked up well with George Cooper on the left side to get Argyle into some attacking positions. The collective worry when he was down injured was palpable, but of course, he wasn’t leaving the field without a fight.
Josh Grant, DM – 8
Josh Grant is a player whose stock seems to be rising with every game he plays. No wonder Ryan Lowe was so keen to sign him permanently this month. He’s taking steps to make the defensive midfield position his own again despite the competition of Joe Edwards and Tyreeq Bakinson alongside him. Against Crawley, he made some booming tackles to get the crowd going, but also showed some finesse in his game, regularly mopping up and bringing Argyle forward again when they had lost the ball further upfield.
Joe Edwards, RWB – 5
There are games where Joe Edwards seems to thrive in the right wing back position. Take the reverse fixture against Tuesday’s opponents Crawley, for instance, where he was able to notch a couple of goals. However, he does occasionally show that he still is a central midfielder playing out of position. This was one of those performances. Most of the danger from the right across the game was from Antoni Sarcevic rather than Edwards, and Argyle looked much more threatening when Byron Moore took over the wing back position in the second half.
Antoni Sarcevic, CM – 8 Player of the Match
Does the system suit Sarcevic more than any other player on the team? There’s certainly an argument to say that it does. Can that detract from the superb performances he’s been putting in every week? Not a chance. Against Crawley he was instrumental again, driving the team forward with his supreme dribbling, and putting the opposition defence under extreme pressure whenever he had the ball. Argyle’s first goal was all his own work. Some lovely skill got him in behind on the right, and he made no mistake with the resulting penalty after he was felled.
Tyreeq Bakinson, CM – 5
Whilst Josh Grant continues to shine in the defensive midfield position, Bakinson has been suffering since his move further upfield this week. From a deeper position, he was in prime position to cut out opposition attacks, whilst also having plenty of time on the ball. In the more advanced role, he’s bypassed a little easier, and seems to struggle to bring fluency to his play on the ball. That’s exactly what we saw against Crawley – this game effectively passed him by.
George Cooper, LWB – 7
Oddly, Cooper didn’t seem to stand out for the many in attendance on Tuesday evening. The most likely explanation for that is that the quality he brings is now seen as an expectation, rather than a bonus. Without wanting to put the two in the same bracket, Graham Carey suffered similar in his final season with the Greens. With Danny Mayor absent, Cooper was Argyle’s primary creative threat from the left, and still managed to put the Crawley defence under pressure with his crossing and dribbling. Not his best by any stretch, but he was still the man Argyle wanted on the ball.
Byron Moore, ST – 6
Not a bad performance from Moore by any means. This 6 rating is certainly closer to a 7 than a 5. It was the sort of game where everyone could see what he was trying to do in getting behind the defence, and his footballing brain was clearly tuned in. However, it didn’t quite come off for him whilst he was leading the line. Nonetheless, he made his mark when switching to right wing back, playing a gorgeous cross to set up Luke Jephcott’s fifth Argyle goal. That’ll do.
Ryan Hardie, ST – 6
Not a bad game from the Blackpool loanee by any means. You could certainly see what he was trying to do in an attempt to bring his undoubted pace into the game once more. However, previously he was facing tiring defenders when coming on as a fresh-legged substitute. It’s a lot harder to do the other way around, and as such he was a little less effective than he would have liked. Didn’t managed to get his fourth goal from his first four Argyle games, but his stock is still more than high enough for now. Just don’t mention that late chipped effort.
Luke Jephcott, ST – 7
Came on with the game level with the hope of making an impact, and managed to bagged a late goal, incidentally his first professional strike at Home Park. Is there really much else to say? Jephcott is looking every inch like the goal poacher Argyle have been missing this season, and it’s such a shame that his headed finish on this occasion didn’t secure all three points.
Conor Grant, CM – n/a
Bringing him on did make at least some sense. As one of Argyle’s more creative talents, Conor Grant have hoped to have been able to make an impression against some tiring legs in the Crawley defence. But unlike Jephcott, he was unable to leave a mark on the game, and like many others, the final few minutes passed him by.
Joel Grant, ST – n/a
Came on late and, in his defence, didn’t really have a great deal of time to impact the game. Tried keeping the ball in the corner when Argyle were ahead, but when Crawley drew level, it never really looked like he would be the source of an Argyle breakthrough.