A pulsating second half comeback saw Argyle claim victory over Ipswich Town and move to the top of the League One table. Here’s how we rated the players:
Mike Cooper, GK – 8
Whilst the scouts and analysts will already know how good our young keeper is, this was a performance in front of the TV cameras and surely one that will have caught the attention of even more fans of Championship (and even Premier League) clubs. A few overhit kicks and one big slice aside, his distribution was good, and his top-quality command of area is almost a given nowadays. Added to that were three top-drawer saves: a one-on-one from Freddie Ladapo in the first half, a very good shovel around his near post in the second, and a sensational fingertip onto the bar to deny his opposite number from subjecting Argyle to their second 2-2 heartbreak in eight days.
James Wilson, RCB – 6
A first league start since his early bath in the 5-1 drubbing at Charlton, Wilson slotted back into his familiar role on the right side of the back three. Ipswich tried to deploy a smart tactic of getting ACM’s Chaplin and Harness to drag out Wilson and Lonwijk and create space in behind. Both did well however to either stay compact or come out and win the ball at source. Wilson did get on the end of a few set piece opportunities but fail to hit the target, and (along with Mumba) was perhaps at fault for the goal for not pushing out as quickly as Scarr and Lonwijk which resulted on the goalscorer being played onside. However, this was by no means a bad performance by the opponents’ former player of the season. Ipswich fans seemed to like singing about their history, so we thought we’d drop that historical fact in there for them.
Dan Scarr, CCB – 7
Ladapo, not known for being able to ever win headers, had the better of Scarr too often for our liking in the first half. He didn’t physically dominate the battle as much as expected, albeit was unlucky with the goal, getting a good foot in on the shot only to see it balloon over Cooper right to where the owl sleeps. The second half performance was much more commanding from Argyle’s number six, and also saw some tidy work on the ball from him to start attacks.
Nigel Lonwijk, LCB – 8 (Player of the Match)
There will be times in the recent memories of Argyle fans where playing a right footer on the left side of defence has spelt disaster – see Scott Wootton and Tom Flanagan. However, Lonwijk proved to have a capable weaker foot when needed, and used his cultured right one to good use throughout, playing a mixture of excellent short and long passes to progress our build up play. Defensively, as previously mentioned, he was solid – that being the operative word when throwing himself in front of a powerfully driven shot in the second half.
Joe Edwards, RWB – 7
Typical Joe Edwards really – fully committed, whole-hearted, consistently charging up and down the line despite not being blessed with electric pace. His passing was reasonable and defensively he let very little get past him, importantly doubling up with Wilson to try and keep the dangerous Harness quiet. His starting spot may come under threat once Conor Grant and Mickel Miller return to fitness, with Mumba potentially returning to the right side, but it would be a brave call to drop the captain who has led Argyle to the top of the league table.
Matt Butcher, CM – 5
Highlight of the first 45 for Butcher was a neat third man run which saw him nearly poke an attempt at goal, but was smothered by Walton. Sadly, he was never really able to impose himself on the game in the middle of the park, and with his replacement putting in such an impressive performance from the bench, his starting spot at Wycombe on Saturday may be in jeopardy.
Adam Randell, CM – 6
Our high expectations of the youngster were certainly met in terms of off-the-ball work on Sunday. As is so often the case, his constant pressing and harrying enabled Argyle to force Ipswich back, especially in the final quarter of the match as the momentum shifted our way. However, his passing, often such a strength, was a little off the radar at times – notably late on when he made two sloppy passes in quick succession to lose possession. Credit must go to him though for continuing to put himself about, even after Sam Morsy decided that just below Randell’s kneecap would be a lovely place for his studs to rest.
Bali Mumba, LWB – 7
Yes, there was another off the ball scuffle. And yes, there was a naughty challenge which could have seen further punishment. And yes, as previously mentioned, he could have pushed out quicker for the goal. But goodness me does this man have bags of talent. His technical ability was again on show against Ipswich, capped by a stunning strike to level the game. He could have had one earlier as well, but put a slightly tame shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Danny Mayor, AM – 5
This was sadly a bit more like the Danny Mayor of 2020/21 – running into blind alleys, losing possession cheaply and sometimes lacking in decision making. However, he did still contribute well to some of our counter-attacking play in the first half. He may have to settle for a spot on the bench on Saturday with Finn Azaz returning to the squad.
Morgan Whittaker, AM – 8
Unlucky to bag one earlier in the second half when his shot slewed just wide of the far post, Whittaker made no mistake when presented with another opportunity. He showed excellent anticipation to intercept a pass out from defence, then unleashed a superb strike that, whilst taking a minuscule deflection, was worthy of winning any game. His first touch was hot and cold throughout the match, with one beautiful take out of the sky in the first half marred by a few moments of poor close control later on. However, this was a very good all-round performance, and he was the main attacking threat for Argyle throughout.
Niall Ennis, ST – 6
The narrative may well be from some that the introduction of Sam Cosgrove with Ennis moving deeper changed the game – however, this would be harsh on Niall, who, up against probably the best centre-back pairing in the division, did his best to be the focal point of attacks. He showed some moments of real strength to hold them off, but then his lay-offs to midfield players could sometimes have been better. Hopefully his injury isn’t too serious.
Jordan Houghton, CM – 8
The last time the Sky Cameras descended on Home Park, Houghton got a petulant red card amidst an embarrassing 5-0 drubbing. The contrast to Sunday couldn’t have been more stark; his introduction saw Argyle immediately retain possession of the ball better, progress up the pitch and force Ipswich back. One sloppy moment late on aside, Jordan’s use of the ball was superb – and he protected the back three well as well. Did not foul Chaplin in the lead up to our equaliser – if anything, Chaplin runs into him before falling over, it was more of a penalty than it was a foul the other way.
Sam Cosgrove, ST – 6
Google dot com forward slash “puts-himself-about”. Perhaps not the most cultured performance, but he became the new focal point and won a reasonable proportion of battles with the aforementioned excellent centre-halves.
Will Jenkins-Davies, AM – 5
Rated purely on the basis of not being on for too long and not having too much of an opportunity to shine, but full credit must go to Will for coming on in a pressure situation like that and holding his own. He had one impressive jinking run with the ball which nearly led to an Argyle breakaway.
Macauley Gillesphey – n/a
A late introduction, slicing a clearance over his own crossbar which led to the Ipswich goalie rattling it.
Conor Grant – n/a
A welcome return to action for the talented utility player. Three games in the week starting at Wycombe will require squad rotation and give Grant the minutes he needs.