This week former Argyle striker and current voice of BBC Radio Devon Martin Gritton takes command of the newsletter – with dispatches from the press box at St Andrews.
With his unique take on the team and experience in football, we’re delighted that Martin is offering up his perspectives for One Team In Devon – and expect more in the coming weeks and months.
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All or Nothing
The players showed more energy, better passing, more possession, and created more chances than Birmingham, and were the team pushing to win the game.
They were taking everything quickly and getting forward at every opportunity.
As Schumacher remarked after the game, the last throw-in might have been taken too hastily and wasn’t on, and it led to the final goal. There was also a tired and hopeful crossfield ball played by Whittaker in the 93rd minute, which resulted in a loss of possession when the ball could have been retained.
I felt the game could have been slowed down in extra time to ensure a point – but that’s not how this team plays. It hurts to see that mentality punished.
But I wonder if we’ll see them head to the corner to protect a point in future?
A Left Peg for the Right Hole?
An old teammate of mine was sitting two rows in front of me, at half time said “Bali Mumba is the best player on the pitch.”
He linked up brilliantly with Kesler-Hayden who looked like a class act at left back. Mumba and KKH continually overloaded Bacuna, who is not a natural full-back, and caused havoc down that side.
But the only issue is that both are right-footed. That meant that both players always wanted to cut inside, and were reluctant to commit to the touchline when attacking and deliver a killer cross with the left peg. In my opinion, that made our attack look a tad predictable, and made it easier for Birmingham to defend their box.
Perhaps there could be more game time for Miller on that side, who can deliver a killer ball on the overload, and KKH can be deployed over to the right on occasion.
Birmingham was the second away game in a fortnight I’ve co-commentated for BBC Devon, after Watford.
Watford and Birmingham both came out of the blocks so quickly, attacking with width and pace that was relentless.
In both games, the threat was down the left flank, with wingers, overlapping full-backs, and midfielders joining in.
For Birmingham, that was the incredible Keshi Anderson and Koji Miyoshi, and it was Matheus Martins for Watford a fortnight ago.
Joe Edwards was isolated in both games against waves of attacks – and no player can cope with that relentless pressure.
Whittaker naturally plays higher, and Argyle packs the centre of midfield. But someone must come out and help Joe or he’ll be burnt out by October.
I think Edwards led the team with his typical character and commitment, and is a credit to the side, so this isn’t me saying he is struggling. But he needs support in spotting and dealing with these dangers.
We all know we need another option up top. Seeing Stansfield and Cosgrove on the bench was galling as both would have been great to see at Argyle this year. Yes, I said Stansfield, that is the only time I’m mentioning him.
Ryan Hardie has been exceptional and proving once again his worth.
Josh Coburn – if he does indeed sign on loan – will hopefully bring the hold-up play and injection of power Argyle needs. Hopefully, he can emulate the way Niall Ennis became so important.
Keep the belief
We can’t let heads go down as the games come thick and fast. As a fanbase we dreamed of playing against the calibre of Watford, Southampton, Birmingham, Blackburn – but this will take its toll, especially if you come away with nothing.
The Green Army should be proud of the team, as the team were fantastic yesterday.
It was heartening to see Argyle stick to the way they play: defend with total commitment, get it wide quickly, and be brave when playing through midfield.
Lewis Gibson, what a player. Azaz was slick, and Houghton was incredible after he got that knock to the head. And Hardie continues to prove he can score goals against anyone.
I’m looking forward to my first visit to Home Park this season on Saturday v Blackburn. If Argyle continue to play like that then no one can be disappointed.