A bit of a frustrating evening at Home Park saw Plymouth Argyle get their first draw of the season with Salford proving tricky opponents. Argyle dominated possesion and the shot count but Salford carved out the better chances of the game on the counter attack.
Alex Palmer, GK – 8
How on earth is he so good? He’s 23 and had only made two appearances on emergency loan deals before this season before arriving from West Brom this pre-season. Whilst nobody had exactly written him off, I don’t think many or any expected to see someone so excellent at pretty much every aspect of goalkeeping. He made two absolutely fantastic reflex saves in the first half to prevent near certain goals.
His kicking was largely good as it always is, especially as his defenders sometimes undersold him with backpacking under Salford pressure. One fumbled cross at the end doesn’t negate another good display.
Scott Wootton, CB – 5
Well… after an excellent first two games and an indifferent display at Newport, that was much more like the Scott Wootton we saw last season to no great enjoyment. It wasn’t all bad. There were a few tidy moments going forward but he was too hesitant on the ball a number of times and once he’d made one passing error in the second half, his general level of performance dropped markedly. He also seemed to lose his man for at least one of Salford’s free headers (of which there were too many) and his aerial ability wasn’t great.
Niall Canavan, CB – 5
Rarely has a defensive player shown as much capability to frustrate as Canavan can. Most defensive players are simply flawed because they’re limited. Canavan has the skillset to be a really good defender for this level and even the league above but he too frequently appears to have what are pretty severe lapses in concentration. For the vast majority of the game, he was dominant in the air and swept up pretty much everything that came his way as well as some good passing out from the back. However, he seemed to lose his man for the first goal and he and Wootton sort of ran into each other for the second. Must do better.
Gary Sawyer, CB – 6
At the moment, Sawyer appears to be a solid if unspectacular choice on the left of Ryan Lowe’s back three. Quelle surprise. Against Salford he was solid enough in defence, but his main role in a team with so much possession was aiding in attack. With Mayor and McFadzean closely marked, an extra body available for pass on the left hand side was often handy.
Joe Edwards, CDM – 8
Edwards has already established himself as a firm favourite among the Argyle fanbase and tonight’s game will have done nothing to harm that reputation. His movement off the ball was nothing short of excellent. He has an uncanny knack of buzzing around the pitch and always being in a perfect position to pick up the loose ball or, when needed, put the perfect tackle in that turns over possession in our favour. His passing itself was also more accurate, having been a little hit and miss at Newport.
Joe Riley, RWB – 5
When thinking of Joe Riley today, the first thing that comes to mind is a massive missed opportunity. Not in the conventional failing to put a chance away, but because he was often the man in space. With Salford focused on Mayor, Riley and Conor Grant had plenty of space. Grant regularly played the ball outside, but Riley was painfully wasteful. With a questionable crossing technique, he’ll need to improve his end product to be a success in this Argyle side.
Conor Grant, CM – 6
The change many of us have been calling for was executed today with Grant coming in at central midfield for Sarcevic. Whilst he didn’t have a dreadful game by any means, it would be fair to perhaps say he didn’t grab it with both hands. The aim of getting more possession was well executed. Grant had some nice interchange with Mayor to his left and Riley to his right but he didn’t really impress himself on the game or press particularly well, especially in the first half. His set pieces, usually on a sixpence, weren’t as good as they could be either.
Danny Mayor, CM – 9 (POTM)
For a little while in the second half, it looked like Danny Mayor was set to be on the losing side. That would have been a tragedy. Mayor was outstanding tonight, and always looked like Argyle’s main threat even before scoring his stunning equaliser on the stroke of half time. His dribbling was marvellous, and barring a couple of heavy touches, he always look in control of the game.
Salford continued to crowd him in the second half, and Mayor perhaps tired slightly, which deprived him of a perfect rating. But this was a superb performance, and a clear demonstration of the player Argyle fans were promised over the summer by Ryan Lowe.
Callum McFadzean, LWB – 6
Argyle’s top scorer didn’t have his finest game. Yes, he looked threatening on occasions, but he has Mayor to thank for getting him into the positions from which he could trouble the Salford defence. He wasn’t exactly perfect from those situations, but he still looked better than Riley on the other flank, and gets credit for winning the late penalty that saw Argyle take a point.
Dom Telford, ST – 6
The ex-Bury striker is still finding his feet at Argyle, but did at the very least deliver a better performance tonight than his showing at Newport. He went close in the first half with a long range effort, and delivered a couple of clever turns to give himself a chance of running at the Salford defence. Also, he held his nerve late on to just about tuck away his penalty kick.
Ryan Taylor, ST – 5
One has to wonder how long Ryan Taylor will be given to learn what is expected of him in Ryan Lowe’s system. At the moment, he is in the side out of necessity following injuries to Byron Moore and Joel Grant. As such, he has a golden opportunity to earn himself a place in the side before they return. He isn’t taking it. Tonight, he was still dropping far to deep to get the ball. It took him away from the action and meant Argyle had fewer options when looking to penetrate the Salford defence. It’ll be interesting to see if he starts against Walsall.
Jose Baxter (78), CM – N/A.
A bit of a mixture for the ex-Sheffield United man. He came on at 1-1, left at 2-2 and had a positional change in the middle. In truth, not a great deal to rate him on.
Klaidi Lolos (78), ST – N/A
Like on Saturday, he wasn’t really brought on long enough to make any real impact and didn’t really get involved in the game very much during his time on the field. He did however look to get one lively shot away to no avail as Argyle pushed for an equaliser.
Antoni Sarcervic (88), CM – N/A
He wasn’t on for long and to be honest had a bit of a nondescript game in the time which he was. He drove well with the ball but also gave it away on at least one occasion.