12 February 2020 06:30
Super substitute James Wilson scored a break in his Salford debut, but it was not enough since Ryan Hardie's stoppage at the time of detention earned Plymouth a narrow 3-2 victory in the Sky Bet League Two. Antoni Sarcevic crossed a center and, although Byron Moore made an initial effort, he made no mistake the second time when he tapped at home from four yards. Salford's goalkeeper, Kyle Letheren, saved the hosts twice at the beginning of the second half, avoiding major blows from George Cooper and Sarcevic. Wilson leveled off with his first touch after arriving when he looked home at a header in a loop just to get Argyle to quickly regain the lead when Sarcevic snuggled brightly from 25 yards. However, Wilson struck again two minutes later, turning sweetly before firing home from 15 yards, while the late Hardie winner resolved things. James Wilson scored twice on his Salford debut but it was not enough as Ryan Hardie's stoppage-time strike earned Plymouth a narrow League Two win.
Hardie darted clear down the right before firing home low into the corner at the end of a thrilling game. Salford's Ash Hunter twice went close in the early stages, dragging an angled effort inches wide, then lashing in a strike from 25 yards that was also just off target. Substitute Wilson levelled with his first touch after coming on as he glanced home a looping header, only for Argyle to swiftly retake the lead as Sarcevic curled home brilliantly from 25 yards. Super substitute James Wilson scored a brace on his Salford debut but it was not enough as Ryan Hardie's stoppage-time strike earned Plymouth a narrow 3-2 Sky Bet League Two win. Salford's Ash Hunter twice went close in the early stages.
For the sixth time this season, Plymouth Argyle found themselves locked at 2-2 in League Two. However, away at Salford, they bucked the trend, scoring a 92nd minute winner to steal all three points. Ryan Hardie scored a memorable late solo-goal to win the game, his forth in just four substitute appearances following a run of no goals in three starts. Prior to that Antoni Sarcevic stole the show, delivering an inch-perfect cross for Byron Moore to open the scoring before scoring a screamer to make it 2-1 just as Salford seemed to be turning the game around. So, while Palmer was quiet initially and could have done better to prevent James Wilson's first from squirming in, he did also deny Wilson a hattrick to put Salford ahead not once but twice. Neat and tidy for the most part, but like the rest of the defence he looked uncomfortable when Salford started to put together wave after wave of attacks, which culminated in a string of good chances for Argyle's opposition to win the game, far more than Argyle probably deserved to on the balance of the whole match.
Wootton's highlight was an expertly timed intervention to block Adam Rooney from converting an excellent right-wing cross by Ashley Hunter right in-front of goal. However, he also failed to pick up Rooney later on when the big-striker completely failed to connect from five yards to make the score 1-1 and was perhaps drawn out to the wing too-easily when Salford scored their second equaliser, distorting Argyle's defensive shape so much that Bakinson was left marking danger-man Wilson. Wilson beat Canavan to the ball to equaliser a first time and failed to intercept the cross for the second equaliser. We saw this with the opening goal – it was he that made the initial break – his near-assist for Byron Moore, when he found himself in his common position beyond the defence, fed by Danny Mayor, and when he drove forward and was unfortunate to see a last-ditch interception prevent Moore running clean-through. Just take Rooney's missed chance in the second-half, caused by McFadzean's poor positioning dragging Canavan out of position and opening the space for the cross into Rooney. That tends to open up space behind Sarcevic and Mayor for opponents to charge into, and Salford regularly took advantage of that. Joe Edwards and Josh Grant are far more comfortable when patiently occupying space, holding their nerve and block passing lanes. So, while Bakinson gets up in players faces and turns the ball over more often, he can do so at the expense of opening big gaps to be exploited. That's not to mention that Bakinson was (albeit expertly) shrugged off by Wilson to level the scores and was at fault (along with Sarcevic) when he allowed Canavan to be exposed 2-on-1, leading to Palmer's 1-v-1 save to deny Wilson a hattrick. Despite facing some very dangerous opponents, he was resolute defensively and largely held-up his flank during the waves of second-half Salford attacks. He and Sarcevic also interchanged nicely on a bumpy pitch that suited their more direct style than more the intricate passing of Mayor and Cooper on the opposite flank. Firstly, that cross was perfect for Byron Moore to score the opener – as a striker you could hardly ask for a better delivery. Then, to top that, he scored a goal of the season contender, striking on the outside of his right-boot through a crowd of players into the top corner from 20 yards. It was always a game that would suit he and Edwards over Mayor and Cooper, and so it proved. Worse, Salford lined up with two strong defensive midfielders tasked with closing him down quickly, denying him the time and space he likes to construct attacks (it didn't work for Sarcevic though, who loves to take on a high-pressing midfield and bully his way into the space beyond). Cooper was largely anonymous throughout the game, spending less time in the opposition half than Joe Edwards (which is a very rare eventuality). Came on for Jephcott to provide fresh legs and help Argyle see out the lead after Sarcevic's goal, only for Wilson to equalise within seconds. This one was something to behold: partly because of the amazing effort to run half the length of the pitch, batting away three defenders in the process, and score from a tight angle' partly because of the dreadful effort Salford made to keep him out. On for a few minutes at the end with the score locked a 2-2, but once Hardie got the winner he did a job in helping Argyle see out their victory.