We out-Wycombed Wycombe!
Well, maybe not quite. In truth we relied on a bit of goalkeeping brilliance in the first half but the core ingredients were there. We took an early lead from a dead ball situating when then saw out the rest of the game through a combination of good game management, scrappy defending and counter-attacking. Schumacher picked a tall team to handle Wycombe’s physical threat and the gamble paid dividends.
Here are your ratings.
Mike Cooper – GK, 9 Player of the Match
That first half from Cooper was up there with one of the finest halves of football I’ve ever seen from an Argyle goalkeeper. He made two outstanding saves that would have turned our lead on its head had a less able goalkeeper been between the stricks.
His command of area was, as it was last week, assured. He isn’t the tallest keeper in the world but makes up for it with assertive decision making around his box and good communication with his defenders. Only a couple of wayward kicks prevent a perfect ten.
James Wilson, RCB – 7
It was yet another solid performance from the man who (his red mist moment at Charlton excepted) hardly ever puts in a sub par performance for the greens.
Mr Consistent wore the armband in the absence of Joe Edwards and he lead a defence that (despite some first half scares) allowed Cooper a pretty quiet second 45. He stuck to his man well and won aerial challenges.
Dan Scarr, CCB -6.
After half-time, Dan Scarr was just as good as his other defenders. Against his former club, he did not let his concentration lapse for a moment and wasn’t beaten in any duel.
During the first half, he wasn’t so great. He lost the man he was marking for one of Wycombe’s chances and on a couple of occasions, he overcommitted from the defensive line.
Brendan Galloway, LCB – 7.
If ever a man needed a good performance, Galloway did in this game. He’d made a fairly poor start to the season topped off with a game-changing red card at Pompey.
Recalled to the starting eleven, he performed with great aptitude. His pace and strength were needed to deal with Wycombe’s balls over the top and so too was his ability to read the game ahead of him. If not for a slightly patchy first twenty, his mark could be even higher.
Nigel Lonwijk, RWB – 8.
Wilson might take the title of Mr Consistent, but the loanee from Wolves is definitely Mr Versatile. When talking to the press his well this week, Schumacher praised Lonwijk for adapting well to playing in three different positions.
Against Wycombe, he was tried in a fourth one and took to the wing back role like a duck to water. He always made himself available for passes and put some fine crosses into the area. The best of the outfield players.
Jordan Houghton, CM – 6.
A solid if unspectacular display, Houghton did exactly what he was bought into the team for. His height was important for winning duels and his strength also necessary to win some on the ground. In possession, he didn’t get time on the ball much and his use of the ball was nothing to write home about when he did.
Adam Randell, CM – 7.
An afternoon to remember for the birthday boy, comfortably the shortest player on the Argyle team. Schumacher went for height but Randell was good enough to prove an exception.
Cool as a cucumber on the ball and fierce as a terrier off it, this was the prototype performance from Argyle’s number 20 on birthday number 22.
Matt Butcher, LWB – 6.
He didn’t have the finest of games, but that can’t really be expected given he spent it out of position. Credit to him where it’s due. He was in the team for his height and height was what he offered. There’s a reason that Wycombe didn’t dominate us in the air for once and, like Houghton, Butcher is part of that.
Finn Azaz, ALM – 6.
On his return from international duty, Azaz had a pretty quiet game. He didn’t get on the ball much or create many chances.
This is perhaps partly down to fatigue after a busy week of international duty but, after taking the lead early, it is maybe more down to Argyle’s unusual defensive style not allowing the best of him to be seen.
Morgan Whittaker, ARM -6.
Whittaker definitely had a better game than Azaz, which perhaps seems contradictory given they have the same rating. But, whilst Azaz is a ‘low six’ (closer to a five), Whittaker definitely flirts with the borderline of a seven.
He was certainly more active and involved, with his electric pace getting him in behind on a few occasions. His end product though was far from its best and did let us down on a few counter attacks.
Sam Cosgrove, ST – 7.
It’s hard to define exactly what Cosgrove offers tactically. Jephcott was the fox in the box. Hardie is the paceman. Ennis has his strength and skill on the ball. Cosgrove is perhaps best defined as ‘master of chaos’.
I’m not sure even he knows where his flailing limbs are going half the time, but the good thing is that the opposing defenders certainly don’t. He is always looking for the second and third movement in any phase of play, never staying static. He drew a foul from the Wycombe defender to win a penalty and converted it with ease for the match-winning goal.
Danny Mayor, ALM – 6.
Some players are better starting than coming off the bench and I’m inclined to think Mayor is one of them. A bit of a lacklustre display, rarely showing some decent runs off the ball at times but not demonstrating enough to really make an impact on the game.
Conor Grant, ARM – N/A.
Came on to run down the clock and did not (to my memory) touch the ball. Still, it’s great just to see him back after a long lay off.