League One action returned to Home Park as Plymouth Argyle and Accrington Stanley took part in what John Coleman described as a “good advert” for the division. A relatively even first half was followed by the implosion of Plymouth Argyle’s defence which resulted in the second half blitz by the Lancashire side.
Matt Macey (6)
The score-line would once again suggest that the Arsenal youngster’s afternoon was not one of great productivity, but in truth the young stopper was left exposed upon numerous occasions due to the poor defensive efforts of his team mates in the second half. The first half saw a confident start from Macey with one of his stops being particularly eye-catching. A goal-bound strike saw him use his long frame in order to pluck the ball away from goal.
Joe Riley (6)
It was an impressive first half from the former Shrewsbury man. He was able to deal with the threat of Stanley danger man, Shaun McConville. Riley prevented the opposition from getting down the wing numerous times with him pressing his man quickly, as well as effectively. He was not as good after the break, but was not a main culprit for any of the goals.
Yann Songo’o (5)
The Cameroonian centre half put in a stellar first half performance which was followed by a catastrophic second 45. One of the longest serving Argyle players at Home Park, he was the saviour for Argyle as he put his face on the line (or more likely his arm) in order to prevent Stanley from finding themselves with an early lead. When the second half started, Songo’o left many Argyle fans with their head in their hands as he made a series of errors as Accrington built a three goal lead. A Jekyll and Hyde performance from the Pilgrim’s number 4 as he failed to provide the same type of solidity he offered last weekend, up at Rochdale.
Gary Sawyer (5)
A return to the Argyle starting eleven saw many Argyle fans optimistic, with the majority believing that the veteran full-back could provide that much needed experience within the back four. Mr. Reliable put in a solid first half as he intervened in multiple of the Stanley’s attacks. However, like Songo’o, Argyle’s number 3 was met with a dismal second half performance. He lost two headers to Billy Kee within thirty seconds as Stanley took the lead and then made two further mistakes as they extended their lead late in the game.
Ashley Smith-Brown (6)
During the first half we were met with an exciting Smith-Brown in which he made multiple overlapping runs and managed to carve open the defence with a couple of technically sublime crosses. A bit defensively shaky during the first half but with the helping hand of veteran captain, Gary Sawyer, the young Mancunian was a solid asset in the back four. Again, less assured after the break, but – like Riley – he was not at fault for any of the goals conceded.
Antoni Sarcevic (6)
A mix bag from the Mancunian this afternoon. He was left to play in what can only be classed as not his strongest position under the lights of Home Park. Sarcevic, known for his box-to-box nature, was left to play as a defensive midfielder which resulted in the back line being frequently exposed. Equally, Sarcevic was unable to have much of an attacking influence throughout the game due to his defensive role. The midfield maintained little control throughout the game which allowed Argyle’s opposition to transition from defence to attack too quickly. This resulted in the defence being left exposed during large spells of the game.
David Fox (5)
David Fox was subject to a rather poor performance throughout the afternoon. Many of the Argyle faithful whom were crammed to the rafters might have been forgiven for thinking that Fox wanted Christmas off as he put in numerous rash tackles during the entirety of the game. A very un-Fox like performance saw the Green Army perplexed as the veteran midfielder found many of his simple passes intercepted by the well drilled Accrington Stanley; notable, the second goal stemmed directly from a pass by Fox that was intercepted in midfield.
Graham Carey (7) – man of the match
The instigator to the majority of Argyle attacks this afternoon which mainly resulted in a hat-full of squandered chances throughout the 90. The Irishman rarely fails to cover the hard yards and, on this occasion, produced multiple dangerous crosses and passes but was unable to help produce the opening goal. We are beginning to see reminders of what the Argyle talisman is really capable of.
Luke Jephcott (6)
A home debut for the Welsh international as he put in a relatively satisfactory performance for the struggling Pilgrims. The Argyle youngster did everything asked of him as he pressed the opposition well and provided cover for his full back with great efficiency. The academy graduate found little of the ball and was accused of playing too safe – though he became more dangerous in the final quarter of the match – but his ball retention was effective and allowed the Argyle players to move up the pitch with grand efficiency. Jephcott also came close to his first goal after some excellent movement was followed by a good block on the line.
Joel Grant (6)
A relatively quiet afternoon from Grant this afternoon but he was not without his fair share of mazy attacking runs. The Jamaican wingers defensive shift was much poorer than usually with Mancunian left back Ashley Smith-Brown being left exposed on a few occasions. The withdrawal of the former Grecian was a justified one as he failed to provide much attacking threat during the second half.
Freddie Ladapo (5)
Argyle’s top scorer was far from his best as he was left with little service all afternoon. With the Stanley centre backs restricting the Nigerian forward to any sort of chance throughout the 90. A few darting runs on the counter attack are all that can be recalled from Ladapo’s afternoon at work as he was relatively ineffective against the Accrington back line which dominated him physicaly.
Ruben Lamerias (5)
The routine introduction of Portugese winger Ruben Lamerias saw some fresh creativity enter the fray but with little effect. A few defence carving passes saw little reward as the Pilgrims were left frustrated: the Stanley goalkeeper pulled off multiple effective saves. The Portuguese spurned Argyle’s best chance, clearing the crossbar from 8 yards at 2-0, which prevented any comeback from materialising.
Ryan Taylor (6)
There is no doubting the aerial prowess of the Argyle number 9 as the second half introduction of the ginger target man saw Argyle claim a foothold on the game. Argyle’s confidence grew as the familiar face gave argyle a vocal point for them to start their attacks. Within seconds of his introduction, Taylor was in the thick of it as his flick-on led directly to Lameiras’ aforementioned chance, the best opportunity Argyle had to grab a goal.