Matt Macey: 7
The goalkeeper had little to do throughout most of the game frankly, bar pick the ball out of the net twice. He couldn’t do anything about either of the goals with one being a penalty and the other being a wonderstrike. He made two fine saves in the first half and his command of area was impeccable throughout with his kicking being mostly fine.
Tafari Moore: 6
It was a bit of a ‘Kelvin Mellor’ game from Moore in one sense, and not just that they’re both overlapping right-backs. Mellor would often have the tendency to go most of the game playing at a generally good level but be prone to the odd ‘brainfart’ moment that would consign Plymouth Argyle to defeat. Moore today was similar- largely competent but an extremely reckless tackle conceded a penalty at a time when Argyle were pressing to get back into the game.
Yann Songo’o 7
There were concerns that Songo’o may be caught out playing against a much more skilful attack but there’s no denying that his good return to the side in the centre-back position has continued. He kept his positional line and let very little past him, restricting Sunderland almost entirely to shots from long range. Equally, he was unlucky not to get a goal at the other end.
Niall Canavan 8 – MOTM
As well as being excellent himself, Canavan’s fine form since coming into the side has had an immensely positive impact on the two players either side of him. His composure radiates through the team, never been harried into a panicky decision. He communicates well and the direction of his headers are superb, finding a fellow green with what seems like almost excessive regularity.
Conor Grant 7
Another competent game was had by the Irish converted full-back. Admittedly not a lot went down his side, with the Sunderland scouts undoubtedly seeing our right side as the weaker side from watching previous game- but he dealt well with all that came his way. He could, perhaps, have done more going forward.
David Fox 6
The old fear that Fox’s ‘legs have gone’ seems to resurface itself every few months. By and large it is overpanicking- Fox never relies on pace and he can’t lose what he never had. That said, there are some games where he is capable of being overran in midfield and this was one. He didn’t track his runners a few times although this wasn’t helped by playing in a 4-2-3-1 rather than last season’s 4-1-2-3.
Jamie Ness 6
Some of his passing was capable but, like Fox, he found himself too often not getting near to Sunderland’s players from a defensive point of view. This is by no means a disgrace as they’re one of the best sides in the league- but it can’t be denied that other players coped better than he did.
Antoni Sarcevic 8
Sarcevic’s excellent display most epitomised Argyle’s quality on the day. The greens were unlucky to lose after going toe to toe with a very good Sunderland side in which we edged the game. The midfielder’s performance was most representative of Argyle’s as a whole: bursting forward between the lines and driving the ball forward. He was crucial to us possession on the floor and moved it around with patience yet purpose- not one to make a defence splitting pass but one to keep the play going: he deserved better.
Graham Carey 7
It was not quite a vintage Graham Carey performance: the jinking runs and killer passes were not perhaps quite there but he still had a fine game even if it was not quite up to his own high standards. He moved well to create space and his ball distribution was also both clever and well executed. He was very unlucky not to score with a well struck free-kick saved fantastically in the bottom corner.
Freddie Ladapo 7
Ladapo may not have kept his goalscoring run going in this game but he’s inarguably getting better at the all round aspects of the game that are required from a central striker. The way he comes deeper for the ball compared to, say, a month ago is incomparable. His ariel ability whilst not excellent is also getting there too. He’s giving Adams a tougher decision to make when Taylor comes back to fitness- on the downside, should probably have scored in the second half.
Joel Grant 8
Grant’s form since coming back into the side three games ago has been a pleasant surprise. Far from the energetic player lacking in the clinical touch that we have so often seen before, he is creating chances and getting the ball into the box with a lot more regularity whilst keeping up his good industry and defensive workrate. More of the same would be welcomed with open arms.
Lameiras 7
Lameiras did what he was brought on to do: add some flair and unpredictability to the attack when we were on the offensive, looking for a goal. He upped the tempo of our ‘pass and move’ style and tried a few riskier moves. We continued to create chances but just couldn’t find the net with any of them.