Argyle 1 - 1 Bristol Rovers
Argyle 1 - 1 Bristol Rovers
Hourihane 35. Parks 70.
Cole 7, Berry 6, Purse 6, Blanchard 5, Williams 6, MacDonald 6 (Feeney), Young 6, Hourihane 6, Bhasera 7, Lecointe 5 (Cowan-Hall 6), Madjo 7.
Subs not used: Chenoweth, Nelson, Gorman, Lennox, Gurrieri.
A draw was a fair result between a stuttering Argyle and resurgent Bristol Rovers team.
Argyle were once again patchy, going from playing good football and attacking play to comical defending and holding on for a point.
It's frustrating for the fans but this is a work-in-progress, especially after the horror of administration last year, so we'll have to be patient.
However, there was a definite atmosphere at the match with sections of the Home Park crowd ready to turn on the players; the slightest mistake was greeted with moans and groans from the stands. It can't be easy playing under that pressure, especially for the five young players in the team.
For the last two home games we've had to watch Argyle play with just one striker but for this match Carl Fletcher brought in Matt Lecointe as a second striker but ironically, he spent most of the match dropping deep and helping out the midfield.
Rovers started the better team and obviously came with a game-plan to unsettle a nervy Argyle team early doors.
With Paul Wotton missing through injury there was a lack of defensive cover in central midfield and Rovers waltzed through far too easily and put Argyle's back four under pressure from the first whistle.
It's now fairly obvious that this Argyle team can't function without a defensive midfielder.
Argyle needed a spark to kick-start the game and they got it from on-loan striker Guy Madjo.
The burly striker chased down a long ball, beat two defenders and tried his luck from 25 yards out; his dipping shot looked to be going in but clipped the crossbar.
The inpatient crowd gave warm applause and were now starting to get behind the players.
Madjo was causing problems upfront with his movement, he's not the quickest but it's such a difference to have a mobile striker upfront and something for the other players to aim for.
Argyle were now in the ascendency and scored when Luke Young played a good pass to Conor Hourihane, the midfielder advanced forward and let fly from long range and his screamer nestled in the back of the net! What a great goal!
With the crowd now fully behind them (well, until the next mistake), the players grew in confidence and ended the first half as top dog.
It all changed for the second half with Lecointe dropping deeper into midfield and Argyle's back four also dropping deeper. And guess what? Yep, Rovers had most of the play and put pressure on Argyle's defence.
Argyle had to rely on the breakaway and for Madjo to hold up the ball and allow other players to join in.
The pressure was mounting and after forcing a series of corners Rovers scored when Tom Parks was left unmarked and rifled in a low shot. One each.
The crowd showed their frustration once again and in turn the players treated the ball like a hot potato.
Argyle were holding on at the end with Robbie Williams blocking a goal bound shot to secure a point.
A frustrating game with Argyle still not performing for 90 minutes. We play well in patches, with a good 10 or 15 minutes here and there followed by a poor spell soon after. We are just not a consistent team.
The back four that was so solid last season are struggling, especially Blanchard - he looks out of form.
The midfield is skilful and can pick a pass but is lightweight and too easily out-muscled. The team needs a defensive midfielder.
Madjo brought a new dimension to the team and was unlucky not to score.
All we can do is support Fletcher and hope he gets it right.
Man of the match: Madjo.