The ACN Match Review – Plymouth Argyle (h)


It would be a little crass to talk about coming back from the dead this weekend, so we shan’t. Matthew McGregor bears testament to the resurrection of our footballing hopes.

The line-up

An unchanged line-up made up of our best available players, who have clicked and are doing the job. Simple as. (How long do we have to keep saying that Sørensen is “playing out of his preferred position”? It doesn’t look as if he is anymore.)

The atmosphere

Yeah, it was okay. Good noise, but not exactly rocking. Fair play to Argyle fans as ever, especially once they scored their goal and especially for aiming a ‘dirty northern bastards’ chant at the Barclay. 

I got to sample the delights of the Lion & Castle for the first time since it opened. Living in Manchester and mainly attending away games, I’ve had to look on with envy until now. What a banger it is. Buzzing atmosphere, good beer, good band. And I got to introduce my American friend, who had flown in from Chicago especially for the match, to Delia. Lovely stuff.

Hurrah moment

As we were awarded what felt like our 89th corner, a Plymouth player went down close to the byline. Referee Jame Linington (on whom there is more to say) insisted the Argyle player left the pitch. As soon as he had, according to my brother whose seat was directly behind the dug out, Andy Hughes furiously got Fassnacht’s attention to get a message across to Sam McCallum: get into the gap at the near post. It has been marked down as an own goal now – and McCallum’s flick was diverted – but the bench deserves an assist on the goal. 

Boooo moment

It was a lovely day and a lovely result, so including a boo moment seems churlish – but rules are rules. Boo to the top-left corner of the goalposts for not letting Sara’s glorious freekick sneak in and boo to Christian Fassnacht for somehow achieving the more difficult task of missing the rebound rather than putting it in the net. Scoring would have made the rest of the game that little bit less stressy. 

Hero of the match

Lots of lovely play from some of the loveliest of the lovely boys. Borja Sainz, Gabby Sara, Josh Sargent all get mentions. But Angus Gunn remains underappreciated so he gets the nod today. If both sides had taken their chances, we’d have had a handful of goals, but Plymouth would have notched several more too. Gunn suffers from having set such high standards that when he pulls off a series of superb stops, it feels like par for the course. Yesterday wasn’t his best performance of the season but it was another example of how many more points we have because of how well he is playing this season.

Special mention for James Linington. They say that the refereeing rub of the green evens out over the course of a season, and Mr Linington repaid all the bad decisions of recent months with some decisions that unexpectedly went our way. From my vantage point, the penalty decision seemed stonewall, and I am told by River Enders that you could hear the clash of shin pads from their seats. How many times have we had a hard time this season from decisions like this. It was nice to have things go our way for once. 

Our post-match takeaway

Well, well, well. A top two faltering in the run-in, and a Norwich team on the march. We’re getting deja vu all over again. Seven wins on the trot at home, and despite some wobbles, and some graft needed, this game never looked out of reach. We have a settled starting XI and a team that now, after a dire first half of the season, knows what’s expected, and how to get it done. A huge week is coming up. At least two points and at least 15 years, and all will be well in the world. 


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